Our friend Christopher is in town this weekend, so we took a trip to the American Visionary Art Museum on Saturday afternoon for some brunch on the roof and then a tour through the exhibits. As usual, there’s an astounding selection of work there, and I think Finley enjoyed seeing the show.
We then returned home and I took the drone out for a spin in the ballfield with Chris and Finley, and got some stick time in with propeller guards installed. I wound up dumping it on its side anyway, and one of the blades hit the guard and shattered but the drone itself was fine. Then we wandered down to Jennings’ Cafe for a late dinner and called it an early night.
Hey, that’s pretty cool: The Washington Post used this Instagram photo I took of a cicada yesterday for a quick video they produced about Brood X coming up early.
The Lockardugans had a busy weekend and I think we were all paying for it Sunday evening. We were invited to the neighbors’ for a Cinco De Mayo party on Friday, which meant margaritas, Mexican food, piñatas, and staying up late. We all had a good time, although Finley had a run-in with an older boy outside which turned out bad for him; two other girls stepped in and helped her fend him off. When she was asked to explain what happened, she sat calmly and rationally outlined her side of the story, which I don’t think the other parent was expecting (her kid was hiding behind a pillow). Her story never changed, and she stood tall in the face of pressure. She is such a confounding mixture of clueless disorganization and razor-sharp self awareness, I don’t understand how the different parts of her personality exist in the same brain together. But hearing how she carried herself, I couldn’t have been a prouder father–and we made sure to tell her so.
Saturday we had the Morrisses in from Easton, which was fantastic; Finn and Zachary got along like best buds the whole day. We drove into the city to check out the Science Center, but first had a delicious lunch at Encantada, the bistro on the top floor of the American Visionary Arts Museum. Sadly we missed the kickoff of the Kinetic Sculpture Race by a couple of hours, but the Science Center was relatively quiet for a Saturday, and we got to check out all three floors of exhibits.
One area I’ve never been to with Finn was the Kid Lab, where eight tables are set up with different science experiments to accomplish. Finn and Zachary extracted plant DNA, did a blood test, and checked out a bunch of different slides under a microscope. And rocked a pair of lab coats.
Sunday I got up to mow the lawn in preparation for my neighbor and a friend to come and split more of the wood in the backyard. We’d rolled three of the big 36″ rounds on their sides last fall so that they wouldn’t suck water up out of the ground on their flat sides. With the splitter running, we made pretty short work of each of them and filled his truck twice. I was working on getting a bunch of the smaller pieces down to size when the shear bolt on the hydraulic ram gave way. Luckily I’ve got a bunch of Grade 5 and 8 bench stock from working on the Scout and had it fixed in about 10 minutes, but soon after that we called it a day. There are only a few pieces left–mainly a few medium sized stumps and one huge round that was cut too thick to go in the splitter–and a huge pile of bark.
I also took fifteen minutes to put the soft top hardware on the Scout (the hardtop came off two weeks ago, just in time for the rain) and get a bunch of smaller stuff in the garage straightened out, as well as putting a new wheel on the barrow I got from Mom & Dad (the original rusted through at the hub, which made it impossible to use).
Finally, I filled the feeders on Sunday morning and let the birds discover the new seed; within two hours a squirrel was poking around at the base of the poles. I took one shot and nailed a female, who got bagged and thrown in the trash. There were more outside this morning, and they will soon meet their maker.
….But look how clean that playset is? That’s about an hour’s worth of pressure-washing.
It’s not a break. The orthopedic doc said it’s a bad sprain and that I don’t need the boot anymore, so I left it off after the appointment and haven’t worn it since. Over the past week I’ve walked on it, careful not to do anything stupid, and while it’s not magically healed I’m not feeling pain during normal movement.
I’ve been afraid of switching to Lightroom for a couple of months now after an aborted attempt to switch at work; in a time-sensitive workflow I couldn’t get it to do what I needed to do and switched back to Aperture (now discontinued, but my solution for 5 years). With a little more free time this week, I moved all of the 2017 pictures I’ve taken to an external drive and built a Lightroom catalog for them after watching a couple of tutorial videos so that I knew the basics. The interface is strange and things are in different places but once I sorted out what was going where it started to make sense.
In other old photo news, I sprung for development of four rolls of film that have been knocking around the house since we moved in. I had no idea where they came from or what was on them, so I wrote a check, mailed them off, and waited. The service is really good. I got a notification email when they arrived, another with links to an online archive of images, and a third to tell me they were in the mail. One of the rolls is Jen’s from 2004 =, containing shots from Rome and a trip to Aurora. The second is 120 film shot at Finn’s birth, but unfortunately there are only three exposures. The third is color film from a trip to Monticello in 2007, and the fourth is a roll of double-exposed film from our friend Dave, which somehow found its way into our hands.
This got me thinking about the three unexposed rolls of Tri-X I’ve got sitting in the cooler downstairs, and the perfectly good film camera I have up on my shelf. I bought some new batteries for it last week and powered it up; I’m not certain but I think there might actually be film in it. That also got me thinking about film cameras within the ecosystem I’m in, and I poked around for some late-model Nikon film cameras on Craigslist as a lark. It turns out they’re available for ~$200, which means they’re something that would be fun to have but not required at this time.
The big honking TV is in the back of the CR-V waiting to be recycled this weekend; I’ve got three other computer monitors and a battery backup to join it as well as some other small appliances that have been sitting around for months. I’m waffling over getting rid of the lampshade iMac I got back in 2011, which is itself over ten years old; it’s a nice piece of history but I don’t really know what I’d use it for besides decoration.
I’m hooked on a couple of new podcasts: Crimetown is a series about crime focused in one city and its effects on the people there. The initial series is about Providence, Rhode Island, which was gripped by the Mob up until the mid 90’s. It’s an engrossing story and the narrators do an excellent job of keeping all the people and stories sorted out.
Heavyweight (now on break) tells stories about people who have unfinished business–things that happened to them in the past that could use a little revisiting. It’s handled with humanity and dignity, and also a good bit of humor.
Criminal is a podcast about, well, criminals. Criminal activity, examining crimes both famous and obscure. It chooses a wide range of topics to discuss, which keeps it interesting.
Song Exploder is a shorter podcast with interviews of musicians who take apart and explain how they’ve constructed a song they’ve written. Some of the musicians are better at doing this than others, and some of the songs are more interesting than others, but overall it’s an insightful look into who the artists are and how they make their music.
I visited the Orthopedic physician on Friday to get a clear diagnosis on my leg, and Finley followed me into the exam room to make sure the doctor was taking good care of me. He poked and prodded my foot, bent it in several directions, and went to look at the X-rays. When he came back, he shrugged and told us that a teeny little bit of bone was chipped off, but it was mainly a sprain and would heal up in a couple of weeks. I put the boot back on, we drove back home, I took the boot off, and I haven’t worn it since. It’s tender but if I don’t hop, pivot, or plant on it, it’s fine. Sunday I mowed the front lawn in a pair of Chuck Taylors. So with care, I’m going to keep walking on it, get it stronger, and continue with the plan.
Our weekend was mostly quiet. Finn and I hit the neighborhood easter egg hunt on Saturday morning, where the bigger kids are outnumbering the smaller kids, and I caught up with the parents of various kids we know. I spent the first hour hiding a hangover behind sunglasses, because I’d sampled a heavy beer with my neighbor the night before. Finley found a bunch of friends and ate a lot of candy and I gradually felt more human until it was time to leave. In the evening we walked back over for a screening of Fantastic Beasts under the stars, and made it home just in time to miss a thunderstorm.
Sunday we hit church for Easter service and celebrated the resurrection with some barbecue. Our fridge is on the fritz again–it had iced itself up completely–so we stuck our food in coolers while we defrosted it overnight. But after scrubbing out the mess and turning it back on, we found that it’s not cooling down enough. This echoes a problem we had last year when the main circulating fan died, but I verified that it’s still working correctly. I did some sleuthing and futzed with the controls and the main damper valve, and we’ll see if that helps.
A few years ago, out the window of my train, I spied something interesting along a wooded patch of forest. I sat on the same side for the return trip and confirmed my suspicion: a the hulk of a finned 50’s sedan of some kind, minus doors and hood. I filed this away for future exploration and checked on it once every couple of weeks, always meaning to plan out an investigation. Recently I was appalled to see that a tree had either fallen on or had been felled on the roof of the car, squashing the back half flat, and decided I’d better shoot it now while I had the chance, and before spring vegetation swallowed it.
I did some Google sleuthing and found the nearest road to access the site, then found a place to park my car. I noticed that several lengths of chainlink fence nearby were missing or knocked over from snowplows, so I knew I could get to the trackbed easily without bushwhacking or climbing fences.
I woke up at 6AM on Saturday to balmy weather, stopped at McDonald’s for some breakfast (don’t judge–nothing else in the ‘Ville is open that early) and set out for my parking spot. Getting down to the trackbed was as easy as I expected, and the hike was short.
There’s been some work done to erect fencing along the track, and upon arrival it became clear that a bunch of the clowns on the work detail decided they’d use the car for target practice when they dropped one of the trees.
Using these three distinctive bolt holes on the remaining front fender, and the fact that it had single headlight buckets when most other sedans of its era were dual-lamps, I determined it was a ’57 Chevrolet Belair Sport Coupe, a desirable car in good condition.
This one had been abandoned since at least 1998 based on graffiti I found etched into the paint.
Anything of value is long since gone. The only distinctive element left on the car other than its shape is the wiper knob barrel, which holds one last piece of the hammered metal dashboard fascia in place.
I stuck around and shot a couple hundred photos with a Canon 7D and my Fuji X10 over the course of an hour, at times walking back into the woods for different angles. I found some castoff elements hiding under leaves and under bushes, including the brake pedal. Then I packed up my gear and headed back home.