June 12th, 2004

Fishy Circumstances

Woods Hole

I've arrived! It's small and it's lovely. It's full of small, local museums, and there's a bakery which makes blackberry smoothies. The water, framed by hills and trees looks lovely. I'm going to a clambake tonight.

I had a lovely, lovely visit with darkling_dreams and revengel, which I will tell you more about soon, along with all the other overdue restaurant reports.

It'll be a good week.
Fishy Circumstances

Springfield

After two tearjerking episodes of Sailor Moon Stars, I caught the bus to Springfield. I ignored the video service, a documentary on Robin Hood, in favor of a randomized song selection in my own ears. I drifted off at one point, and awoke with my ear numbed from being squashed against the headphone. I hope I learn from this.

It's been a few years since I last saw darkling_dreams, but it felt as if no time at all had passed. Sure, she has an iguana now, a spectacular vegetarian lizard who loves his fruit, but her cat and her snake were the same, and she was still a great deal of fun to talk to. We played word games at the airport while waiting for revengel to arrive, and then, our evening's social group intact, finally went for a late dinner. She told me I had to watch some Kenshin and Escaflowne at some point, and that I might like the Soulcaliber games. We looked at pictures from our year at York, and I remembered all sorts of FreakSoc folks that I'd forgotten all about, and many that I remember fondly. Does anyone know what ever happened to Sam? We talked into the night before we all crashed, and, the next morning, after being entertained by the iguana eating a banana, I left for Cape Cod.

revengel was a great deal of fun to be around, in part because I unfortunately kept misunderstanding what he said. We have many of the same bad speaking habits you see. We both speak too quickly and fail to enunciate sufficiently when excited. We both are prone to unexpected tangents mid-conversation. Between us, it was an entertaining challenge to keep the conversation straight.
Fishy Circumstances

On eating lobster

The president-elect of the Society for the History of Technology gave us lessons in lobster technology this evening over dinner. Like many of the people at my table, I'd never eaten lobster before. It's an imposing crustacean, with antennae everywhere, a hard shell, and all sorts of complicated bits and pieces where tender morsels of meat are hiding away. On its own, it tastes okay, but with lemoned butter it was delicious. We hypothesized that the meal burned more calories than consumed because taking the shell apart was such work. There is a great deal of equipment involved in the eating of a lobster. There's the regular napkin on one's lap, plus a bib around one's neck. There's the regular knife and fork, plus there's the nutcracker and the special small fork with an extra-long handle for extricating bits of meat obscured away in lobsteresque corners. There were spare napkins and prepack towlettes for cleaning up afterwards. There was the enormous tray (refered to by staff as a "plate") and the separate bowl for the butter and lemon. The beastie itself has so many parts and pieces that it requires instruction to know which bits are worth the effort to search for meat in them.

I arrived in Woods Hole several hours earlier. The bus was crowded enough that I wasn't sure I would make it. I went to the back of the bus before I found the first free seat, and settled in. Only a few minutes later did I notice that I recognized both of the men seated on the seats just across the aisle from me. The odds of us being on the same bus were high; the odds of us finding each other all in the same row were much slimmer. We talked while the bus drove through miles of lush greenery, until we emerged at a small bay, a parking lot surrounded by delicate old buildings, a modestly sized car ferry, and sail boats bobbing on the water. One of the buildings was a bakery, Pie in the Sky (opens at 5 am!), which sold fruit smoothies in all sorts of unexpected berry flavors. I took advantage of their blackberry smoothie and vowed to return some other day for the mint chocolate chip cheesecake brownie. Perhaps tomorrow.

Woods Hole is a small town. The three of us walked past the local NPR headquarters, the Small Boat Museum (in both senses), and not many minutes later, arrived at our hotel. I had time enough to settle in before collecting the astonishingly large binder of readings for the next week and the shuttle van ride to the lovely building where we will be working this week. The sunset streamed in through the half-lowered blinds of the glassed-in porch, illuminating a low bank of clouds into a rich golden orange as it set over an outstretch of land. We had all arrived, instructures and participants, writers and historians from at least four different countries, a dozen institutions, junior faculty, post-docs, graduate students, department heads and deans.

And then we ate lobster.