I rang in the new year with a small group of 80’s themed dressed individuals at Gallery Imperato in South Baltimore. I went as Danny Noonan from Caddyshack. In addition to enjoying the change of scenery — the gallery is located in an old historic foundry — we got to check out the photography of Carlos Tarrats while snacking, chatting, and jamming to hits from the past. I’m not a big fan of the all-you-can-drink specials at the bars and clubs around the area and I heard on the radio that 80-85% of people stayed in this year (presumably due to the economy), so it was nice to be able to go out and have fun without breaking the bank or staying out too late.
It isn’t that I don’t know where December went, but more that it went by so quickly.
I’m glad that I made time to read Rocket Boys. Its the fascinating autobiographical tale of Homer Hickam and his childhood friends. Born into the West Virginia mining culture, they started building rockets in the beginning months of the space race. Their efforts were pretty impressive.
Now I’m halfway through Death with Interruptions. It’s a unique look at what things would be like without death. Covering logistical and cultural issues both, Jose Saramago — the Nobel Prize winning author of Blindness — writes in a different way. I can’t tell if it’s just for this book or if its the translation from “the Portuguese.”
On New Year’s Day I trekked to my childhood neighborhood to attend an annual chili party at one of the neighbor’s houses. This party has been going on for 36 years. The last time I had been I was in high school or home from college. Many of the people I talked to I hadn’t seen in years. Parents from the community that I grew up in that I hadn’t seen since I was a kid. It’s a pretty cool thing to talk to them adult-to-adult now. The whole community still acts like a big family, like many communities did a decade or two ago. I think it’s harder to find these sorts of communities these days.
The chili is pretty damned good too. The recipe is a closely guarded secret but I’ve been told that there’s 35 pounds of meat involved (in some mixture of beef and pork). There’s so much chili that it has to be stirred with a wooden boat oar. There’s a handful of habenero peppers in each batch, giving it a nice hearty taste. They aren’t cut open, but they add some heat. Most people don’t want them in their bowl, so they end up staying in the pot. As the pot is refilled throughout the day from several steam pans full in the oven, the mixture gets more spicy. The only rules seem to be is “keep the cooks aisle clear” and “don’t touch the chili” since every bowl is ladled up by the host. I think that’s pretty classy and I imagine it allows him to talk to everyone throughout the day.
This year brings new chances and opportunities. I’m haven’t been a big fan of making resolutions in the past, but this year there’s a handful of things that I’m going to attempt to follow through with.
- Read more often. I won’t say one book per week or month or whatever, but more often than watching television.
- Clean things up after I’m done with them. Dishes, paperwork. A little work now will mean less work later. Or so I hope.
- Floss. Every day. My dentist ought to be happy and my gums ought to be healthier.
I don’t know what most people pledge to do. If resolutions are supposed to be more specific or not. But I’m ready to get started.