(Last modified 30 November 1996.)

Wanderjahr: Week 15

Locations: Northampton; Somerville; Boston
Dates: 11/24/96 - 11/30/96

David H and I (I'm sorry not to've updated the cast list lately, or the links to it; I hope to do so soon, but ever since I've been in MA the sheer number of people involved have made it seem a daunting task) went to brunch Sunday morning, during which we happened across the fact that David had a high-school paper of mine that I'd looked for while packing for the Wanderjahr but thought was lost forever. So he gave it back to me, and I packed up my car and drove back Bostonward. The trip was far smoother than I had any right to expect; nothing slowed me down, and I made it to Somerville in well under two hours. At which point I rushed to the T and headed down to the Arlington stop, where I met Mark at the Church of the Covenant for a Coro Allegro concert.

The concert was way cool. I've never disliked classical music, but most of it becomes instant background music for me; but I hadn't heard much classical vocal stuff before. Lots of great harmony. Mark said it was technically superb as well, but I'm not qualified to judge it on other than an aesthetic level.

I didn't notice most of the second of the three pieces performed, because I was busy trying to suppress coughs. The sore throat had transmuted into a cough the minute the concert had started, and of course the tickle in my throat only went away during between-movement breaks. By the intermission I was miserable. During intermission I tried to find a drugstore to get some cough drops, one of those vital winter supplies that it never occurs to me to purchase, but of course this was Newbury Street, and drug stores are simply too declasse to be allowed in such an upscale neighborhood. Sigh. But things went better, cough-wise, in the second half of the concert.

After the concert we went to dinner at an Indian place called Kashmir (?), then walked for two or three hours around Boston, talking and looking at scenery. Much fun, very comfortable. At some point before the snow comes I'd like to do the Freedom Trail walking tour...

Back to Somerville, where I'm spending the week at Michael's place. Watched the new Babylon 5, talked a while, then I went to bed -- and exactly the same thing as the night before happened. I begin to wonder if it's some form of sleep apnea, which would make it a good thing that it wakes me up each time... I hope it's only due to the sore throat. I've never experienced anything remotely like this before... I couldn't just stay awake and read, because I was too tired to keep my eyes open, but I couldn't sleep either. I considered trying to find a 24-hour drugstore in the area, thinking some more nighttime-cold-remedy medicine might help, but with no phone book easily available didn't see how I could manage to find anything. (The cough had also come back in full force, but there were cough drops available this time.) Finally took some Ibuprofen and that seemed to help for some reason; fell asleep for an hour and a half or so around 4 am. Tossed and turned for another hour or two, and eventually got another five or six hours of sleep.

Spent Monday lazing around, transferring my stuff to Michael's place, and shopping for food and drugs. Got more cough drops, Nyquil caplets, and some new earplugs. Helped Michael set up a search engine on one of his Web sites. Got a full night's sleep for the first time in several days.

Tuesday I tried once again to catch up on email, that never-ending task. Poker that evening.

Wednesday I tried to run errands, with little success. I can't understand why Boston has no good bakeries. All I wanted was a 9" round loaf of sourdough, the sort of thing available in every store that sells food in the San Francisco Bay Area; but I would've happily settled for non-sourdough if I could've found anyplace that sold any good bread at all. Visited Beth in the hospital briefly (she'd just had her appendix out). Eventually went over to Deb & Charles' to have dinner and help make pies for Thursday. After dinner, Michael and I went to Wild Harvest, the new health-food supermarket that Star Market started in order to compete with Bread & Circus, the local equivalent of California's Whole Foods. They were almost out of bread and other stuff, it being almost closing time the night before Thanksgiving, but we made do with whatever we could find.

The next morning and early afternoon Karin and I helped Beth home from the hospital. I spent the rest of the day engaged in the traditional Thanksgiving pasttimes of eating and lazing about in good company. Ed and Deb taught me a little more knitting stuff, and I prepared to start a hat. Before going to bed, I finally mailed a story that's been waiting to be sent out for over a year now, ever since it was rejected by F&SF.

Friday I did a bunch more knitting, and Fran & Ed came over in the afternoon to play a kinda cool board game called By Hook or By Crook, in which players purchase, steal, and exhibit works of art. Fun. Story reading in the evening. Turned out I had made too many mistakes in the knitting, so I ripped it apart and started over again. After story reading, did more knitting and caught up on Babylon 5. Good progress on hat, a little progress on screenplay.

Saturday was a lazy stay-at-home day to recharge my social batteries. Listened to a bunch of music. Also did knitting and Web stuff; Michael showed me the way cool PixelSight site, and I spent much of the afternoon using it to design a kith.org logo.

Late Saturday night we decided to rent a movie, the watching of which took us well into Sunday.


Movies, Books, etc.

Prince of Annwn, Evangeline Walton
Interesting retelling of a part of the Welsh book of legends The Mabinogion. Works better as a novel than Huon of the Horn did, but still not entirely successful.
archy and mehitabel, Don Marquis
A marvelous collection of pieces by Marquis' alter-ego, archy, who was a free-verse poet in a previous life and was thus reborn as a cockroach. Witty, often insightful, and only a little repetitive.
Mulholland Falls
Violent but mostly well-made in the best noir tradition: LA cops who work outside the law; atomic secrets; cigarettes, gunplay, hats, and dames. The cast reads like a Tarantino reunion party, and some of the dialogue reads like good Tarantino pastiche, but Tarantino couldn't have written a plot like this.

Jed Hartman <logos@kith.org>