Stories on Wednesday: I had a VASA board meeting (by conference call) on Wednesday evening. The logistics meant I ended up using my cell phone from the lobby of the Chevy Chase Pavilion (a shopping center next to the Embassy Suites), which worked okay. We got through the business we needed to. The main thing is that there will be a Gathering in 2012.
The reason I was over in that part of town for the call was that Willa Brigham was performing at the Friendship Heights Village Center. It made sense for me to call from somewhere near that venue. It also meant it was one of those evening when I end up eating a Power Bar for supper, which is annoying but survivable as long as it isn't too frequent. The highlights of Willa's show were some of her travel stories, in which she managed to get into interesting trouble. She also had a wonderful wooden hat, with a story about how she got it. I thought a lot of her material was entertaining and I liked her performance style, but I felt that what she told worked better as anecdotes within speeches, versus as stories themselves.
A Very Washington Thursday: Thursday evening featured an MIT Club of Washington event. MIT President Susan Hockfield was giving a talk at the Grand Hyatt. An email a few days beforehand warned of extra security due to "a distinguished visitor." It turned out that President Obama was speaking at the Women's Leadership Forum, behind held across the hall. The security was not actually all that onerous - just a walk through metal detector and bag x-rays. I thought Hockfield's speech was interesting, even if she had less cheering (and none of the press coverage) that Obama got. And conversing with intelligent people is always a good thing.
Speaking of Obama: His Middle East speech did not actually say anything. The term "based on" is a very useful out for almost anything. (That said, I think Jerusalem is a thorny and likely unsolveable problem. Not that anybody asked for my opinion.)
Conversation with my Mother: There were several police cars in her neighborhood the other day. Apparently. somebody drowned a cat in the swimming pool of a house on the next block. Describing the house, Mom said, "nobody lives there, since they're mostly all dead." Apparently, the police also found bones buried in the yard. My guess is that the bones will prove to be connected to the pig roasts that the people who used to live there had, though it would be more interesting if that weren't the case.
Bad Taste Department: One of my colleagues has taken to describing the Mark Center (the building we are moving to thanks to BRAC) as Auschwitz II. The other day, he was pointing out that the building will have showers. I found the comments offensive, but beyond saying, "that's not funny" I'm not sure about whether or not to pursue it with him.