Thursday, April 30, 2009


Well, the hypothetical is now very much concrete. There's a team of three guys--all of them very nice--going through the house packing everything up in boxes. We'll be living out of suitcases for most of 5 days on this end, it seems, and then a while after that in Pittsburgh. It's happening!


Monday, April 27, 2009

One week to go

This feels like I'm stripping the altar on Maundy Thursday.

-- My dad, taking the computer, printer and phone off the house's main office desk before the Craigslist buyer came over to take it away
As previously announced, the family is moving. This has, for me, involved getting rid of tons of stuff. Lots of books and old electronics recently, but in around November-December, lots of paper, documents and other pseudo-memorabilia. A lot of it was kind of worthless stuff that needed to go, but if by chance I need to know what was on my calculus test in March 2001 or what Barak Naveh said in IB History on April 4, 2002, I’m going to be out of luck.

The reality of moving has come incrementally, and this week was a big watershed. I made probably my 6th full haul of our Passat station wagon to the Goodwill in Durham, and took another load to the Orange County dump. Our church’s rummage sale also received some of our erstwhile gems, and my Craigslist account has been at least decently active. And of course, the aforementioned desk and our washer and dryer, another Craigslist purchase. (The new buyers evidently don't want these, and the new place has its own.)

I have a calendar with a handful of farewell social engagements--dinners and parties of various sorts--which are of course welcome but seem to necessarily clutter up this already-busy time. I have some strange sort of senioritis (an inflammation of the senior, of course) where I'm almost ready for it just to be over. But then I think about it and no, I'm not really ready. Though there will be some welcome end to the constant cycle of cleaning and purging--or at least it will take on a new character as I see what fits in the new house. And, one imagines at some point, I see what I need to take with me as I pursue one of the many excellent jobs I plan on having offered to me.

I've moved a lot in the last couple years, but this seems different. Hopefully it's just as good an experience as any before has been.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

International recognition dissing

Browsing the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs' website (as I do) I came upon this travel advice page for French citizens traveling in the United States. It mentions some things that are probably true: don't raise your voice or lie to the police, and a "monokini" is probably going to get you in hot water.

It also has a comically incomplete map of American cities and neighborhoods to avoid under "Sécurité." It has a brief description about Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Richmond, Chicago, Houston, Saint Louis, Atlanta and Los Angeles, but no map. There are maps showing supposedly dangerous areas of New York, Washington, Cleveland, Detroit, New Orleans, Miami and... Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh!

We can argue about whether it's fair to classify the entire borough of the Bronx as unsafe to travel alone and I'm not sure I'd draw the line for "Quartier Nord-Est" in Washington exactly where they have it, but somebody must have been throwing darts at the map to decide to map those seven cities.

I'll leave it further to neighborhood partisans to assert that Hazel Wood [sic] is in fact safe to visit, even at night, but even my rudimentary French skills leave no doubt that "Sixième Pont" means "Sixth Bridge," not Sixth Street Bridge, as it actually is.