Friday, May 25, 2007
For the record, Radici has superb bread and roasted garlic-infused dipping oil thats addictive. We'd considered beginning with a pot of Prince Edward Island mussels steamed in white wine, shallots, etc., etc. but decided on a second round of bread and oil instead along with our pinot grigios. Fritz had seafood Fra Diavolo while I chose Pesto Salmon (perfectly broiled) served on a bed of warm English cucumber salad. I don't believe for amoment that a warm salad is remotely English but so much the better--with a subtle hint of balsamic vinegar and a lot of subsidiary veggies, it made an ideal companion to the salmon.
We ended with coffee and then treated ourselves to an obscene amount of ice cream on the way home.
Karl, one of the QBB (Adventures in Gastronomy), tagged me with this question on why I blog (I note that he then fled the country immediately, on his way to Paris with his boyfriend). As it happens, I'm a sucker for this kind of thing so here's the meme:
The rule of the tag:
Post a similar post like this one and add a linkback to the person who tagged you.
* List 5 reasons why you blog about the things you blog on your blog.
* Choose your 5 tag ‘victims’ and tag them nicely
* Write a comment on their blog letting them know that you tagged them. Voila!
Five Reasons why I blog about what I blog:
1. Gay Issues: I began because I'd been reading blogs by gay men for about six months and finally decided I wanted to be part of that world. I started DesignerBlog almost four years ago in August of 2003. In that time I've linked to blogs by gay men of all ages, professions, lifestyles, political and personal philosophies and sexual practices.
This experience has confirmed for me that the variety and richness of gay life in this country is truly amazing; I'm fortunate to have developed friendships and acquaintances among men of all types, both in this country and abroad. And blogging for me is a further extension of being out and demonstrating the value of a gay life to anyone who will read.
2. The Art of Writing: I've always enjoyed writing but much of it has been of a utilitarian nature. I wanted to improve my skills, become simpler and more direct, and be forced to write constantly to keep in practice and constantly developing.
It's become much easier; I've discovered that I can sit at the keyboard with an idea seemingly worth only one or two sentences and, as I'm writing them, the whole thing starts to flow and develop a life of its own. It's exciting when that happens and leads me to hope that maybe I'm actually becoming a writer, one of my earliest goals in blogging.
3. Myself and My Thoughts: I came from an extremely insular, even isolated family that was obsessed with privacy almost to the point of paranoia (and past the point of paranoia in a couple of cases as they moved into old age). Any kind of self-revelation was avoided and condemned.
In school we were often urged to keep a diary and I tried but soon grew bored. Who would read it? Only me. Then why do it, I wondered. Blogging solved both problems. Ive become much more comfortable revealing myself, and what I put out on the blog is a means of reaching out to people who read of my life and experiences and perhaps connect and may choose to write back.
4. The Arts, The Performing Arts in Particular: They've been my life. There's no way I could write a blog and be honest about myself and not include them in a major way. I'm sure that the heavy arts component of DesignerBlog is one reason I don't have daily hit statistics through the roof, but I'm delighted with the readers I have, and noticed in the comments to Wednesday's post several who commented for the very first time, which is just great--welcome, and I hope you won't be strangers here.
5. I wanted to become more confident working on a computer, and that's certainly happened. I'm much more comfortable multi-tasking on the machine now. I've also become more knowledgeable about the immense number of resources, research opportunities and services available on the web. I tend to go to the web first now, instead of grabbing a yellow pages, or a dictionary as a first reaction.
I generally don't tag bloggers, but I must admit that I would like very much to find out why these guys blog about what they blog about:
Ted, of The Neighbors Will Hear
Michael, Spo Reflections
Evan, of Life is Sweet in the Fenway
Jess, of Splenda in the Grass
Lewis, of The Spirit of Saint Lewis
If nothing happens to ruin the deal, the new owner of my house in Roslindale and I will pass papers on Thursday, July 12 and I will cease to be a Massachusetts resident. Here, from one of the Town of Raymond, New Hampshire's sites, is a bit of the official word on the community into which I'm moving:
Origin: This territory was settled in 1717 by Colonel Stephen Dudley who claimed to have purchased the land from the Sagamore Indians. The township was called Freetown, because it was exempt from the usual obligation of reserving its tall pine trees for masts in the royal English Navy. (photo of the Town Hall and Library in 1906)
In 1726, Freetown was included in the incorporation of Chester. It was separated from Chester in 1764, incorporated and renamed Raymond for Captain William Raymond, who had raised a company of soldiers to fight in the war against Canada. (photo of the beginnings of the Exeter River on the Chester/Raymond town line--it becomes a raging torrent in spring floods)
Land in Raymond was granted to soldiers from Beverly, Massachusetts, and it was also known as Beverly-Canada.
[Despite the official version above, there is a persistent legend that Raymond was actually first settled by a group of monks. Fritz and I, given some of the activities we host, find this story highly appropriate]
Population, Year of the First Census Taken: 727 residents in 1790 [Two years later Benjamin Poor built a handsome, very typical center-chimney home near the western edge of Raymond town which is Fritz's current home] (Photo of the Historical Society, housed in the old train depot from the days when Raymond was a major southern New Hampshire summer resort with train service fromBoston, etc.)
Population Trends: Population change for Raymond totaled 8,269 over 50 years, from 1,428 in 1950 to 9,697 in 2000. The largest decennial percent change was an 82 percent increase between 1970 and 1980; both the previous and next decade had a population change of over 60 percent.
The 2005 Census estimate for Raymond was 10,122 residents, which ranked 28th among New Hampshire's incorporated cities and towns. [These figures are seriously obsolete—condo development in the area has been intense and the town is developing rapidly]
(photo of the center of town, most of which was lost to a catastrophic fire that leveled the heart of Raymond in the late 1800s)
There was a meeting at the Fritz's Center yesterday morning of our general contractor, M (who has been doing all the architectural construction drawings), and me (Fritz had an engagement in a neighboring school district). We went over the GC's estimate on the house's cost, answered questions, made a few decisions, walked up to the house site and declared everything ready to begin construction just as soon as the building permit is issued.
After they left I went down to the local main bank (which, happily, is the same bank as mine here in Boston so I won't have to close accounts and start up again) and arranged for new checks to be printed with my Raymond address. I then went out and bought a nice big mailbox, large highly reflective numbers to place on its sides, and a post to mount it on. It will be set into the shoulder beside the road some time this weekend.
Then I drove down to MIT and sat with my fellow designers for a couple of hours figuring out the grades for all the design classes. When I had those all recorded, forms filled out for students taking incompletes, etc. etc., I delivered the grade sheets to our departmental office and my career as a teacher at MIT officially ended.
And the fun began.
Three or so years ago, MIT began an Open Courseware program that would make all our courses, their syllabi, reading lists, examples of student work and other relevant information available to the general public on the MIT site. I met with the team implementing the program and decided to work with them getting the six design courses we offer into the system. Then I went back to our building, discussed with my colleagues the advantages of Open Courseware and found them completely uninterested in doing the work required.
They even remained uninterested when I mentioned the stipend being offered--$2000 per course in the first year of the incentive period, $1200 in the second year, $750 the third and last year. So I dug in and started doing the work myself.
By the time I had over $4000 at my disposal for use in any legitimate academic purpose (one professor placed four courses into the system in the first year, applied for a half-pay semester’s leave, set herself up in a little apartment in Paris and did research leading to publication of a book that later guaranteed her getting tenure), they realized that I was getting all the cash. They suddenly discovered their inner lesson planner and started cranking out the stuff--at the much lower third year rates.
So at the end of day, I worked with one of the administrative assistants to set up the purchase (aided by the Institute's big volume discount) of my first-ever laptop. There will be bells and whistles, a 17” screen, a stylish carrying case, a large capacity external storage drive and a couple of other accessories. And there will still be money left over for a couple of other goodies as well.
But when I got home, there was the biggest goodie of all--a voicemail from the Building Inspector of Raymond, New Hampshire to tell me that the building permit for the new house had been issued yesterday morning and could be picked up at any time. The waiting is over. Construction begins next week!
P.S. Happy 10th Anniversary. I remember a time when a young(er) you sat across from me at Rialto groping for the right words to tell me about his "change of lifestyle."
While my dream has always been to glow from the detritus of a nearby nuclear (or is it nucular here in the red state of NH?)power plant, I am gainfully employed as the director of marketing for a private jet company.
I make people want to travel aboard a luxuriously appointed private jet. It's a rough job, but somebody's got to (commute from Somerville and) get paid well to do it ...
Dinner (in NH!) very soon!
About a year ago, I entered the blogosphere on behalf of my former employer. From there I started my own (small, pop culture, clip) blog at thegreenones.wordpress.com (linked off my slightly outdated site at www.thegreenones.com).
Meanwhile, I just heard an "oops" coming from my assistant. As you're aware, the Director does not like to hear "oops..."
Dinner very soon - Raymond, Portsmouth, or wherever. I'm exploring NH with the same glee as a gay teen entering his first high school locker room...
I find your blogging reasons very interesting. It occurs to me that familiar blogs quickly become very place-like. There is a sense of "home" about them ... a space created in my mind to commune. Thanks for sharing that.