Each evening as the pets wax needy, the caffeine wears off, and the house creaks as it cools, I think: I should blog. A pin-snip tightening in the solar plexus; I clamp down and I panic lightly and I know, for one, that I don’t have the margins of energy to tell the whole story of what January is or has been. For two, guilt. The longer I go blogless, the heavier the onus. Even this paragraph has made me lose a kilogram or two of psychic weight. So, in compromise, let’s slide narrower the window of recap to encompass only one subject: two presentations I gave this month.
This year, we visited an awful lot of islands. Iceland (and now twice!), O’ahu, Great Britain, Ireland, the San Juan Islands in Washington State. Here’s a brief and conflated recap of the most recent island adventures. With photos!
Every two weeks, my lovely assistant David has to inject me with a medicine, Humira (Adalimumab), using a “pen” (euphemistic) thoroughly engineered for consumer use. It’s a grey and plum cylinder about six inches long and a half an inch in diameter; it feels chunky and comfortable to hold, kind of like on of those felt-tipped markers for toddlers.
But it’s not a toy. It hurts, and can really hurt at times. Here’s some things we’ve learned to make the experience a more pleasant one.
It is the eve of my 33rd birthday, and I was recently reminded that I never blog about myself anymore. Allow me to fix what isn’t broken and give you an extensive time capsule of a typical week in my life. This past one seemed relatively pleasing and should serve as a good baseline. It’s Monday through Sunday, with extreme minutiae. Enjoy!
There’s a problem. Or perhaps not a problem so much as an absence of anything actively useful. I read a lot. I pursue a lot of interests. I see a lot, I go to a lot of places (more now than before). So much that I have become overawed, and, in turn, passive where I should really be active. I’ve transformed into an absorptive entity. This cannot stand.
What good is pummeling my way through Plato, learning the art of frankincense distillation, taking weak little steps towards astrophotography, sampling weird Austrian wines made from the Zweigelt grape or solving confounding problems in the world of mobile Web development if I keep everything entirely to myself?
After an unseasonably warm and dramatic walk along the Látrabjarg bird cliff (Europe’s westernmost point), David and I stopped at the weird little outpost at Hnjotur, the Egill Ólafsson Museum. Here, a compact museum houses the fruits of Ólafsson’s apparent lifelong obsession with collecting: IBM mainframes, bits of ships, the varied implements involved in the the endless local struggle to procure protein; stark Protestant objects, coffins; bare furniture shiny with hard use; dessicated specimens of fish; geological specimens; pale quilts thin with years; an unsettling number of brutal proto-medical contraptions aimed at keeping farmers alive in this northern, lonely place.
In what is either a bold and surreal or a foolhardy and grim travel choice, we have elected to return to Iceland. What would be foolish about that, you might say? If you were me, you might be especially thrilled because Iceland is fast becoming my favorite place ever. But, here’s the thing: we’re going to go in December.
Even on a small brochure map, the Loire Valley seems a bit wide-flung, but David and I are well-seasoned road travelers who tend to wipe through a lot of miles in an hour or day. So when we planned out our trip to the Loire Valley this summer, we assumed we’d hit the highlights: salty Muscadet on the coast (maybe some bruised-looking sea clouds for good measure); a dabble of honeyed Vouvray; a dalliance with the sere perfection of Sancerre on the eastern end. As it turned out, we never got more than 20 miles away from our inn near Saumur during our whole wine trip.
Emerging from my dazed over-stimulated WOW after several weeks, I can finally process the caliber of the stuff I saw floating around Europe for a month with David. First up is Djúpavík, an almost intolerably photogenic and surreal abandoned fishing village in far northwestern Iceland. To get there you drive along the Arctic Ocean on a tiny road and you feel like you’ve discovered something no one else has ever seen.
This used to be my front door. It’s in Edgbaston, a neighborhood in Birmingham, UK. Birmingham is difficult for me because I like it okay but it does not like me. For one thing, when I lived there, it rained every day. Did I mention that? It is actually not an exaggeration. I got over that, but then when I finally made it back for a “hey, Brum, what’s up?” visit this past June, it pulled a fast one on me.
From the archive, a few random posts that you might not have seen before.