November 15th, 2013

storyteller doll

Walking, Flying and Seeing Shows

I’m not quite sure how I’ve managed not to be writing here. My biggest excuses are: a) travel and b) house cleaning, with the latter occasioned by hosting our monthly story swap this weekend. It is always interesting to discover what is lurking in my house, as well as what I absolutely can’t find anywhere at all. (For example, I am searching for Sunday afternoon’s theatre tickets. It is possible that I had changed the date and, therefore, need to stop at the will call. But I am not sure.)

Three quick celebrity deaths to note. Charlie Trotter was a chef. Chana Mlotek was the grand dame of Yiddish music, having worked at YIVO for many years. And Michael Palmer wrote interesting medical thrillers.

Anyway, I forgot to mention last time that I had taken advantage of being in Bowie for storytelling to do the year-round Volksmarch there. The route was surprisingly pleasant, winding its way through various (paved) trails and parks. Like most folks in Northern Virginia, I am normally quite snide about PG County, but apparently that corner of darkest Maryland does have some nice spots.

November started with a bunch of travel. I went to Phoenix for a weekend, to do a few baseball-related Volksmarch events. This was mildly complicated as I routed myself through LAX (which saved a lot of money) – and I was flying the day of the shooting there. It didn’t really affect my flight but it was a bit nerve-wracking. As for the walks, I had done the Mesa walk before and it was fine, but the area along the Arizona canal is quite exposed and it was hot out. The Scottsdale walk (for which I did the 5K route) had a bit of a complication as the start point had misplaced the walk box and it took a call to the event point of contact to get that straightened out. The final walk I did was in Tempe and had a nice commercial area near the university. But the directions were mediocre, with an entirely unreadable map and there was some confusion about whether the short route was 5 or 6 kilometers.

I came home, unpacked and packed to head back to Los Angeles for a business trip. That travel was annoying since it was done last minute and my company made me fly American, which is cheap for a reason. The leg room might be adequate for a pygmy toddler, but not for an adult Westerner. The one positive is that enough people have figured this out and the plane was fairly empty, giving me a whole row to myself on the way out. Going home was even worse, since the company fails to understand that a flight that gets me in an hour and a half later is not equivalent when that means I get home after 11 at night. (I am consoling myself with the comp time, which comes in handy with my upcoming vacation.) Terminal 4 at LAX is particularly bleak and was made worse by them flying in an honor flag for the dead TSA agent. That meant that there were hundreds of police officers standing around (real police, not TSA) blocking the already inadequate aisles. I can also rant on the subject of describing someone as a hero for having the misfortune to be killed in this sort of incident. Tragedy, yes; heroism, no.

Back at home, the week improved with going to see Lou and Peter Berryman perform at Seeker’s Church on Friday evening. Banjoist Frank Castle opened for them and was reasonably entertaining. Lou and Peter are not brilliant musicians, but they are good humorists and I enjoyed the show. I will particularly note the song "The Rocky Frontier" about a man sitting and looking at people’s arduous journeys to the California gold rush and deciding to stay just where he was.

Finally, on Sunday I went to see Pride in the Falls of Autrey Mill at Signature Theatre. This is a new play by Paul Downs Colazzo, whose Really, Really got a lot of critical acclaim, though I was lukewarm towards it. I was even cooler towards this tale of the underside of suburban life. The gist of the plot is that Carly is all excited about having her family photographed for the subdivision newsletter as she has won a big award for her flowers. But her husband and her sons reveal that life is not her perfect fantasy. In short, everyone is unhappy with the illusion and spends 90 minutes or so whining. The acting is fine, with Signature having scored a real coup with getting Christine Lahti to star as Carly. But all of the characters are at least somewhat unlikeable and this was little better than soap opera fare.

Someday I will get around to ranting about politics.