— Thoreau. Nov 8, 1855.
I was feeling uninspired by the splendor of the Media Lab; rode out to Sprout for to study in their library. I’m there now. It’s cold, and it smells like someone spilt beer on the floor and never cleaned it up. But I’m happy here. There’s something about punky and brainy that just gets me so much more than wealthy and brainy.
I downloaded all the content from Facebook recently. I’m going to post it online, probably to bmander.com, and shift over to bmander.com for all my self-publishing needs. As soon as I’m comfortable with that I’ll deactivate my Facebook account. I’m not comfortable socializing in a corporate space like that, especially given how much I use it. The goal in general is to look like you just walked out of a Nikki McClure poster, and Facebook isn’t helping with that.
My elevensday weekend went like this:
6:51am EST - Meredith and I leave apartment in Cambridge, get on red line.
7:03am - Transfer to silver line. I hate that bus.
7:24am - Arrive at Logan International. Shortly thereafter, Meredith and I part ways.
8:20am - I turn off my phone. Sit on a plane until…
10:36am CST - land in Chicago
11:40am - depart Chicago
2:58 PST - arrive Seattle
3:25 - Meredith arrives on a different flight, via Newark. This is the first time I’ve waited for an arrival at the gate in ten years. Shortly thereafter we meet Abra at the baggage claim and get Meredith’s bags.
3:56 - Depart the airport on the LINK light rail.
4:31 - Arrive downtown. Abra splits off to get some things at home. For the next half an hour Meredith and I wait underground for a bus which will never come, because it is Veteran’s Day and none of the commuter routes were operating.
5:03 - leave the downtown bus tunnel to try to find a surface bus.
5:40 - catch the first 16 that comes along.
6:23 - arrive at Cupcake. Cat, Ginger, Andrew, some OWS guy, Morgan, and Abra are having a home-cooked dinner.
7:00 - depart for Jason’s show downtown. Cat and I take the tandem.
8:00 - Jason’s show starts. Appearances by Jason’s longtime traveling band, Cait and Jay, Jason’s collaborator Amanda Palmer, her husband Neil Gaiman, and others.
11:10:00 - A minute of complete silence in a room a moment before filled with screaming can-rattling maniacs.
11/11/11 11:11:11 - The silence is broken with a simultaneous scream from a thousand people. Two large elevens drop from the catwalk. Cait and other dressed as large 1s dance around the stage while Jay and Jason play Eleven Saints.
midnight - Jason takes a handful of red balloons and leads the crowd out into the night. We walk towards the waterfront.
12:40ish - Jason strips off his clothing, sets his hat to flight on the bundle of balloons, and swims out to a candle-lit junk riding at anchor in the bay. A crowd of maybe 600 watches in mute horror until they see that he’s safe, and the junk raises sails and drifts away. A single police car, aware of only the outer fringe of the mob, impotently demands that everybody leave the beach.
1:00am-ish - The car that Meredith rode in from Cupcake is not returning to Cupcake, so Cat leaves with Meredith on the bus. I set off towards Cupcake on the tandem alone.
2:00am-ish - sleep in the aerie at Cupcake.
11:00am - meet mom at the house.
12:23-1:18 - brunch in Eastlake. I forget the name of the place. I had biscuits and gravy.
1:48 - back at the house. Grandma shows up.
2:07-2:45 - Hot chocolate with grandma at Chocolati near Greenlake.
2:51 - Part ways with grandma and walk over to the the Ashworth house to see if anyone is home. Nobody answers the door.
2:59 - Roll around in the rosemary bush a block from Cupcake.
4:29 - Leave the cupcake alone on the tandem.
4:40 - Trader Joe’s stop.
5:13 - Pay a visit to Metrix.
5:32 - Arrive at Westlake Center, where Amanda Palmer is playing the Ukulele for the OWS protesters. She plays two more songs and then leaves the stage. I meet up with Mackenzie, and we depart towards Pike Place Market to grab a cookie.
6:03 - Cookie at Three Sisters at Pike Place Market. Mackenzie and I set up towards Fremont Abbey by tandem.
6:30 - Arrive in Fremont a little early. We stall at The Flying Apron.
7:00 - Arrive at The Fremont Abbey, and wait around until 8.
8:00-11:30ish - A rich collection of Jason’s friends play music. I find and hug a lot of different people I haven’t seen in a while. Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer cuddle on a couch that Mo insists is not reserved for them, though they are treated with some deference. I peek over Neil’s shoulder to see that he is updating Twitter, and go to Twitter to see what he’s posted. It’s nothing important. That dude posts to twitter like twenty times daily. Afterward I try to talk to Jason but he’s in a weird mood, and a crowd of gothy looking people I don’t recognize form a loose book-signing mob around Neil, who does not look surprised, nor offended.
11:43 - Sarah Shay recruits several people to go to Beth’s Diner. Mackenzie is not going and Meredith elects to ride in a car. I offer a ride to anyone who wants on the tandem, and a young woman I’d never met before joins me.
12:19-2:14 - Beth’s. I have biscuits and gravy.
2:14 - Meredith joins me on the tandem for a ride homeward.
2:22 - Home, and to bed.
11:50am - Meredith and I depart southward on the tandem.
12:04 - I drop Mer off in the University District for her to explore, and leave southward on my own.
12:32-2:14 - Lunch with Bre at an indian place downtown.
2:14 - depart towards capitol hill on the tandem alone.
3:02 - arrive at Shari’s place, and visit with her and her cats.
3:40 - depart Shari’s place. Call Meredith to see what she’s up to. We arrange to meet.
3:55 - Meet Meredith in Cal Anderson Park and head out on the tandem.
4:10 - Meet Sarah Shay at the Beery House. A plan is hatched to go to Ballard. Meredith again elects for a car, while I ride the tandem alone.
4:50 - I arrive at Sarah Shay’s place in Ballard. Everybody is already there. We collect some instruments.
6:09-6:35 - Busking in Ballard. I play the Ukulele. Sarah Shay on the mandolin. Others, percussion.
6:35 - set out towards Cupcake on the tandem alone.
7:30 - Arrive at The Cupcake. Collect my stuff.
7:44-8:20 - Rock Band at The Ministry in North Seattle.
8:20 - Michelle drives me to the airport.
9:00 - At Seatac, I figure out that I’ve arrived at the airport a day early. Michelle is already all the way back at The Ministry.
10:17 - I make it back to downtown, where Michelle meets me with Jrd’s car. We drive back to The Ministry.
10:30 - back at The Ministry. More Rock Band.
11:30 - back at The Cupcake, for the night.
10:30 - Another Trader Joe’s run in the U District.
12:40 - Sarah Shay and Meredith convince me to travel downtown for brunch. I depart on the #16, sans tandem.
1:37-2:40 - Brunch at the Pike Place Bar and Grill with Sarah Shay, Meredith, and Meredith’s friend Pip.
3:39-7:30 - Hang out around Capitol Hill.
9:10 - Arrive at airport.
6:24am EST - Arrive at Newark.
8:29 - Arrive in Boston.
9:43 - Arrive back at my apartment in Cambridge.
Raining. They don’t give out adventure hats to people who balk at a little drizzle. Onward!
Sat around Jordy’s house all day reading the internet and attempting to get some work done. There were no dances or potlucks or shapenote singings or anything. My camera photo log shows that I took a photo of the preparation instructions for white rice on the white rice bulk bin. Apparently I ate rice for dinner.
Travel for me is all about finding a routine in the middle of all the change. Whatever or wherever I eat, I’m likely to go back the next day to eat it again. On Monday I had my trip’s second mint brownie, my second barbecue smoked turkey sandwich, and my fourth Waffle House chocolate chip waffle. How did I fit all that in? Here. I’ll tell you.
Slept in. Left home to get the brownie. Then down the hill, where I picked up three barbecue sandwiches. Ate one, and saved the other two for the trip. Back home I took a call with a gent in Seattle who wants to work with me on a consulting basis. It’s a pretty interesting gig, actually. I hope some good work comes out of it. Bummed around for a bit, then headed to the Grey Eagle in Asheville for my last Asheville contra of this trip.
The fiddler was top-notch. The plywood floor, not so much. I bought a “Grey Eagle” tee shirt to go with my “Blue Eagle” tee shirt. I said goodbye to a few locals I’d become a little attached to.
A local gentleman Clif drove me to the intersection of SR 11 and US 25. “Good luck” he said and shook my hand out there in the green chirping darkness. I reassembled my bike and took off southward, Lucinda Williams singing “go on back to Greenville” from the slab in my pocket.
In Traveler’s Rest I ate at my last Waffle House, a young man with very little trace of cultivation in his voice chatting on the other side of the counter about the great speeds of which his lawnmower was capable when he drove it to the gas station.
In downtown Greenville a gentleman was waiting for me; let me into the station, where I slept on the floor for two hours until the train arrived.
Atlanta. Birmingham. Across lake Pontchartrain, and a long slow S through New Orleans. Rode along the levee at the edge of town and saw so clearly that the city is just a few feet below sea level. High water right. Low ground left. I kept looking back and forth, just to make sure. Thought: nice. what could possibly go wrong. Saw the blocks and blocks of above-ground cemeteries, little cities for the dead in a city where nothing stays buried.
Arrived at Jocelyn’s place. Watched an incomprehensible episode of Lost. Went out to eat jambalaya and alligator sausages. Jocelyn’s boy had smoked oysters and deep fried chicken livers, over fears about the eventual onset of The Gout. What’s gout like, I asked? It has something to do with urea and DNA, he told me, though I wasn’t satisfied with the answer.
wednesday, so far
Went out for brunch at a cafe with. Walked over to the French Quarter with Jocelyn and poked our head onto Bourbon Street. Bourbon is like Telegraph Ave or Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s crap.
At about 10:30 AM, by the Mississippi, Jocelyn and I encountered a very drunk man with a fair gift for storytelling. He regaled us with an epic battle between himself and a nutria, which he won to the satisfaction of his young daughter, eschewing violence in favor of mercy, by throwing the giant rat into a broken trash can he had sitting around. He’d been trying to throw this trash can out for some time but apparently due to a bug in the operating system of civilization one cannot actually throw out a trash can. The trash men just come along and empty the trash from the broken trash can and put it back on the curb. So there he was, hauling a trash can down the street towards the river, when a crowd formed. They could smell blood. Crowds love violence. There’s so much violence in this town, the man said. Did you hear about this shooting the other day? he asked. A drive-by, dozens of people hit. The person they were after wasn’t even nicked. They should train gang members how to shoot just to mitigate the collateral damage. Anyway, he hauls the nutria down the water and the dang thing jumps really far into the water. Jocelyn and I said goodbye and walked away. “Despite that man’s tremendous drunkenness at 10:30 in the morning he really is a talented storyteller,” I said. “He had side-stories and tangents but they all wove around a central plot that he kept coming back to,” I noted.
“Did you see how he had a sort of right-angle thing, on his thumb?” she asked.
We started walking past this coffee shop - I thought it looked like a Seattle sort of place and I was hankering for an iced americano. There inside was my friend Leah, a bike cohort from Seattle. We sat swapped traveling stories and hatched grand plans for tomorrow, which I’ll write about here, if they come to pass.
the rest of today
M-J picked Jordy and I up and took us to a potluck just past the South Carolina border. Here’s what it looked like:
See that? Right in the middle there? Just to the right of the middle? That is a tree in shade lit at the top by a beam of sunshine. In case the significance of such a thing is escaping you, here’s a picture of a part of the western United States as I was leaving them a couple of weeks ago
Some people fed me delicious food and then someone drove me to a shack in the woods where the best music I have ever heard was playing to a crowd composed almost entirely of enthusiastic young women lacking dance partners. This actually happened, people.
In a moment I’m going to go sleep on the porch and wake up in the fresh air to sunlight dappled through new spring leaves. However, I will not continue from there to the post office to fill out a change of address form, because there is no software community here. What is wrong with me?
Ate a “smoked turkey” sandwich featuring bacon and a slice of goddamn brie. Played with an iPad in a store for over an hour. Bikes out to Warren Wilson college for some seriously good contra dancing.
Took a cupcake to watch a movie. Attempted to find a shapenote singing but failed. Played volleyball with a red kickball on a tennis court.
saturday so far
Lunch in town. The weather is mid-sixties with patchy clouds.