(Last modified 23 December 1996.)

Wanderjahr: Week 10

Locations: Somerville, MA; Wellesley, MA; Boston, MA; various locations, NH
Dates: 10/20/96 - 10/26/96

Sunday morning, I woke up and it was still raining. Lazed around the house for a while: took a shower, updated my journal, checked my email for the first time since Wednesday morning (a long time away from mail for a Net addict like me), and talked with Bhadrika and Jazz. Jazz is amazing; last time I saw him he could almost say a couple of words, while now he can communicate in full (albeit a little mushy on enunciation) sentences. He's clearly a person now.

Walked over to Beth's in the rain (got completely soaked) for a nice (though small) story reading, then drove off to Susan's birthday party. I know, I know, I promised I wouldn't drive (especially not alone) in the Boston area once here, but taking public transportation would've taken (I think) something like an hour and a half even if I happened to make good connections (unlikely on a rainy Sunday).

Was great to see folks at the party. Some I hadn't seen since two years ago, when I last visited Boston, but we fell right back into comfortable patterns and conversations as though it had been days instead of years. The usual range of topics, from weather to movies to gossip about ancient Greek gods and heroes ("So wait, who was Clytemnestra's lover while Agamemnon was away at war? ...no, not Orestes, he was their son."). I'm convinced a good soap opera could be made by combining Bullfinch with Homer. Good food, good company, good jokes; shared backgrounds, what-ever-happened-tos, friendly teasing, speculation. Sally asked me why I was traveling; I said "to see friends." (She said, "Not to give you an excuse not to write?" -- touche.) And it's true; this kind of gathering is what the trip is all about. Not that I didn't have lots of fun, and lots of great conversations, at earlier stops (and at home, for that matter). But I see these folks less often than most, and so miss them more often. At least I'll have plenty of time with them over the next couple months.

Tuesday I went to the Children's Museum with Bhadrika and Jazz and Wolf. It was fun, but the trip was mostly oriented around Jazz; sometime I'd like to go back on my own to see more of the place. I especially liked the Teen Tokyo exhibit.

Tuesday night was poker; I hadn't played in months. Much fun.

Also on Tuesday I got back to work on my ghost story. Made significant progress. Hope to be able to finish it soon.

Wednesday I accompanied Michael to visit his printer in New Hampshire. Saw a fair number of trees with turning leaves, but it's getting late in the season for up there, and the storm tore most of the leaves off most of the trees. And the sky was mostly gray and gloomy, so the light wasn't good enough to make the remaining leaves stand out. Still, we saw a dozen or two lovely (if brief) views as we drove along. Afterward, west to the LL Bean outlet store (replaced my two-year-old shoes and six-year-old winter gloves), then back to Somerville. Lots of great conversation, ranging as usual from copyright law to layout and design to Mac software to politics to Internet domain registration...

Thursday and Friday I spent mostly backing up and re-installing various pieces of software on my computer. Also hanging out with Bhadrika, Steve, and Michael. Had dinner at a new place in Somerville called Tallulah's; quite good food, if a little pricy. Friday, had dinner at Marguerite and Brian's, where we discussed privacy on the Web, which made me reluctant to put any information at all about friends on my cast list.

At some point during the week I finally managed to get through to EarthLink customer service. I'm appalled by the lack of service there. Up to 40 minutes' wait time for tech support or customer service calls; salespeople who give incorrect info; and support folks who answer technical questions in email with a form letter saying they've referred the mail to the billing department (which incidentally never follows up on anything). I strongly recommend avoiding this service at all costs, at least until they get their act together. (They could eventually be a really good service, but they're not now.)

madrigal photoSaturday evening was Bhadrika & Steve's Halloween party. A bunch of Swatfolk showed up, as well as other locals I didn't know. Fun. I mentioned not having a costume, and Bhadrika said her brother's RenFaire madrigal-singer costume was upstairs. It turned out to be a very nicely made costume, although the hat was missing, and it fit pretty well. Stayed up 'til Daylight Savings ended. Took advantage of the extra hour to get some extra sleep on Sunday morning.


Movies, Books, etc.

A Ring of Endless Light, Madeleine L'Engle
Wise and moving young-adult novel, 3rd or 4th of the Austin family books. Gets a little too mystical for my tastes at times, and a little too much overlap with L'Engle's sf books (the Wrinkle in Time series), but possibly my favorite of her books nonetheless.

Jed Hartman <logos@kith.org>