Posted by: David | March 17, 2010

Road Trip

I went down to Connecticut last Friday to visit my good buddy on the occasion of his “double-nickel” birthday. That’s 11 x 5 x 365 = days on earth. To celebrate, he invited a bunch of friends over to watch old W. C. Fields movies. We started with The Old Fashioned Way (1934), which featured Baby LeRoy, and some footage of Fields juggling. He was an amazing juggler. My friend’s son is too. He can juggle 5 balls. It’s frackin amazing to watch. We watched more movies and bits of movies after that, including a clip from The Dentist. It was fun, though I did doze off a couple of times. It had been a long drive down from New Hampshire, and those old movies reflected the slower pace that life followed in the first half of the last century.

Then I get stuck behind the POISON truck.

But I did make it to Connecticut. I did some of what little growing up I’ve done down there in the Nutmeg State.  So I took the opportunity to exit the Wilbur Cross Parkway onto Whitney Avenue in Hamden, so that I could drive over to Dixwell Avenue, past the City Hall, the golf course where my buddy and I trespassed regularly, the infamous (to me) Hamden Plaza (home to the late Ghost Parking Lot), and finally, the target of my diversion, my old high school. As luck would have it, I hit the red light right in front of Hamden High School.

Spent many an hour staring OUT of some of these windows, back in the early ’70s.

My trip was brief, after the movies, my friend and I stayed up till 2 am jabbering, eating some more shish kebab, watching Colin Ferguson, jabbering some more. I slept until about 6:30, got up to pee, then went back to bed for another couple of hours. The wind and rain began in the wee hours. After a breakfast of leftover birthday cake and coffee, the time came to hit the road and head back north. There was a major storm to beat. And beat it I did. The rain let up just past Hartford, and when I got back into New Hampshire, the rain had not yet even arrived. I stopped at some stores in Keene.

At Auto Zone this guy was putting a new battery into his nicely restored ’57 GMC truck.

I told the guy I was one year older than his awesome looking rig, and asked him if I could take a photo. He said “Sure”! So I did. Then I installed the new windshield wipers on my car and left the old ones in the box in Auto Zone’s lobby. Then I went to Target, which was almost a bust, until I remembered, after standing in the checkout line for a couple of minutes with my Crest White Strips, that I’d wanted to find some pinwheels for the garden. Which Target had! The perfect 99-cent Slinky pinwheels made in various colors of shiny mylar, which make really good scarecrows (or scaredeer more like) when attached to short bamboo stakes and stuck in the ends of the raised beds. They last for a couple of years too before the wind finally shreds them. You’d be surprised how hard they are to find. Go Target.

I got back home by 4:30. Home Sweet Home. It rained all day Sunday, but as this week progressed, Spring returned. The snow is leaving the backyard.

Oliver monitors rodent activity on St. Patrick’s Day morn.

At work, Spring Break is over, and we all reluctantly return to the grind. The lengthening days encourage us. As does stuff like this …

A co-worker made these lovely weavings from the same warp. Her woodworker husband made the hangers.

For those who don’t speak weave talk, the warp are the threads that run vertically (in this photo). The piece on the right has an intricate pattern in the weft (horizontal threads) that draws the warp threads closer, making the fabric narrower and giving it more thickness. But the rainbow pattern just makes one happy.


  1. Very nice. I never knew that about the pinwheels; I might have to make a trip to Target (which I love and am sad is not closer than it is). I have always wanted to go to Keene but have never been. I hear they have an awesome fry place.

  2. Love those weavings! I’m still looking for the perfect weaving or other fabric/fiber wall hanging. They are so much more warm and interesting than framed, glass rectangles.

    Meantime, I’d love to be bombing around town in that awesome red truck.

    Yes they are! And the rainbow (ROYGBIV) never fails to make me cheery. The red truck kinda does too. It was fun watching the young dad and his daughter interact while I was installing my new wipers. It reminded me of similar scenes with my own kids in parking lots of stores …

  3. do you think the pinwheels will work for urban alley cats? and squirrels? and those guys the police chase over my 6ft stockade fence in the middle of the night?

    Jeez, I sorta doubt that the tough urban cats would be disturbed by spinning shiny things. Perhaps if they had razor-sharp edges and were powered by little servo motors … of course then you’d be having to clean up shredded carcasses. I’m hoping the pinwheels work here. The deer have gotten awfully nervy this winter. I was out raking again tonight and saw that the deer had eaten down all the leeks that wintered over and had left deep hoof prints in most of the other beds. Surprisingly though they have not molested the straw-covered garlic beds. Those should be sprouting any day now. 🙂

  4. Is spring break the same as Easter break? Or don’t you have any Easter break because of its religious origin?

    Kids here are going to get about 2 weeks off. All over there will be those strange processions, very strange, slow drums, occasional trumpets and in the South very rarely improvised singing. I have never seen the real thing. Around here it is not much anymore.

    No, spring break is the rite of North American College Kids to leave campus for a week and get away from the stresses of their studies. The cliche is for them to hit the sunny beaches of more southerly climes, but increasingly conscientious students are availing themselves of more socially redeeming activities, such as volunteer work for organizations like Habitat For Humanity, for example.

    At any rate, there is no Easter connection at all to that collegiate spring break. The USA has adopted the pagan commercial aspects of the spring festivities, with eggs, bunny rabbits, and, of course, candy. I am of Jewish heritage, but the Easter traditions have always moved me with their somber observances of death, transfiguration, and rebirth, perhaps more so after the passing of my son around this time of year in 1993.

  5. Driving behind trucks is a frustrating blessing. I hate driving behind trucks, but more trucks on the road usually correlates into a better economy.

    Hello Ahmnodt and thanks for your comment. I see what you mean about the economic indications, and can happily add that most truckers with whom I’ve shared the road are good and courteous drivers. Even those that have to transport poisonous cargo.

  6. Ohh…now I see why your favourite colour is rainbow, that looks awesome!

    I loved the nostalgic element of this post right up to the picture of your stately looking high school 😉 It made me feel warm and fuzzy like an episode of Wonder Years! 😀

    PS:…ahhh! poison truck! 😦

    That’s so funny that you mention The Wonder Years! My friend Bonnie (a.k.a. The Talking Mime) was just commenting on FB about stuff going on “my permanent record”! Thanks for noticing the nostalgic thread Romi, it was pretty much subconscious, or unconscious. Like most of my posts. I really wanted to get in that little piece of music from Beach House. But the refrain “... it is happening again ...” kinda worked for the nostalgia I guess.

    Wonder what was really in that poison truck.

  7. Yes, it is somber. When I was little, I kept wondering how it could be that all these people acted as if they were sad, when suddenly they were becoming overjoyed during a solemn mass that takes place on the evening before Easter.

    By the way, inside the church they cover up the crucifix with a violet cloth. During my studies in Basle I lived at the house of an orthodox Jewish family, but I did not notice they were Jewish. However, I sometimes had to use their telephone and I did notice that on certain dates they wrapped up their telephone with the same cloth as was used in Catholic churches during Lent=the 40 days before Easter. That prevented me from using the phone. I still did not think or consider they might be Jewish, maybe because of the notion I grew up with that Jews do not exist, are story book figures. Maybe I had this idea because of the way “these things” were talked about. The German word for “persecution” is “Verfolgung” and does not sound very scary in itself, since anyway, just like “concentration camp”, it is an euphemism of the uglier kind.

    I wonder if those times that you were prevented from using the phone were on the sabbath (Saturday). Orthodox practitioners are forbidden to use electrical devices on shabbat. Also forbidden is lighting a flame. I remember my orthodox great grandmother’s “workaround” for this rule. Light and leave burning one burner on the stove-top before the sun sets on Friday evening.

    Funny, in my childhood I was exposed to the notion that Gentiles did not exist, except in story books, where they were always tripping themselves up with their godless folly, eating themselves sick on shellfish, pork, and what-not. Lucky for me I was able to see through this hypocrisy even as a youngster.

  8. But it is n’t hypocrisy, it is folk lore of a sort, remains of legend and rumours, and they are different from the modern stuff in that they last much longer.

    Also I think I know why I thought that Jews did not exist. I had a picture book about Aladdin’s Lamp. I did not have it for very long, and I don’t know how it disappeared, but I do remember there were people that flew on carpets. When I heard that the Jews had been “verfolgt” which to a child would be like “chased”, I imagined they took off on their carpets, and when it dawned on me that flying carpets did probably not exist, I concluded that Jews don’t exist either.

    Now I saw where you live. One was a map for postal rates and then came a map for a Russian Orthodox diocese, and on both I saw that little ear on the left of the US map. It does look small and much more North than I would have imagined. And New York is there?! Imagine.

  9. How would you have thought that Gentiles do not exist? Did you think that all the people living in your town were Jews?

    In the towns where I lived as a kid in Switzerland there weren’t any Jews as far as I know, and even now I have never consciously seen any, though I realized later that certain people (one a boss, another one a university teacher, and the Basle landlady and two kids of my highschool class) were Jews.

    That was in jest. I was remembering the sanctimonious tone of some of the “religious” lectures when I was a boy in Hebrew school. That’s where I perceived hypocrisy, which to me meant the accusation of erroneous theology in “their” beliefs as a way to bolster “our” beliefs. Jews were always the minority in all the neighborhoods I ever lived in. I had more goyim friends than Jewish ones. Were it not for Judaism as presented to me in childhood, I might not have become the irreligious prat that I am today.

  10. Urgent Update

    Large Hadron Collider Finally Smashing Properly

    Following two false starts, the world’s biggest physics machine began to collide subatomic particles on Tuesday.

    And we never knew what hit us!

    Yes thank you cantueso! Vermonter and I were joking about this today. I’d been following the Twitter feed and CERNTV had some live webstreams to watch. Kinda boring really. But after reading the press release I see now that I was wrong about the full power of the system being around 7 TeV. I guess that’s only half power. This fall they hope to get it up to 14 TeV. Proper headline: Large Hardon Collider: Halfway Up! 🙂

  11. This is the comment I saw on the NYT:
    “As we are poised on the brink of so much discovery, I remain awed at the power of cooperation to further human culture.
    Recommended by 80 Readers”


    Notice this use of “on the brink of”. It’s becoming standard. I even read that you were on the brink of passing a health care bill

    I would say this is a portent. As our info-feed accelerates ever faster, the feeling of a “brink” is increasingly notable.

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