Thursday, January 22, 2009

Maybe a helmet would be a good idea?

When I was a little kid my mother never let me go sledding on Hospital Hill because she said it was too dangerous.  Too many friends of mine broke arms and legs there.  The moral of this story is, you can't do a thing about it, your mother's always right.

Hospital Hill is not actually (as I used to think) called Hospital Hill because it sends too many people to the ER, but because it backs up on the old Northampton State Hospital.  But I'm beginning to think that there's something to my original idea about how the hill got its name.

Several days ago, on a sunny Sunday afternoon, with several inches of fresh powder padding the foot of snow we already had, my father, sister, and I decided to go snowtubing.  We got to Hospital Hill only to discover that the powder had already been firmly packed down by dozens of little sledders, creating an icy almost-vertical freeway on which crampons would have been pretty useful.  After sliding halfway down the hill on our asses several times, we finally made it up the hill, and then had a couple good runs down.  On our last run, my sis and I shared the snowtube.  As we hurtled down the hill, I felt, I swear, a premonition... that this was not going to be good.  Sure enough, some kid (or, who knows, some silly adult like myself) had left a plastic sled smack in our path.  As you really can't steer a snowtube, we hit it head on.  I hit it literally head on.  As we crashed, the sled bounced up, I bounced up, the sled bounced down and I bounced down onto it.  On my head.  On my left temple, to be exact.  I lay there in the snow afterwards with the precautions from too many first aid classes running frantically through my mind.... suspected spinal injury.... don't move the victim if you suspect a spinal injury....  I gradually realized that, no, my back was not broken, and yes, I was able to speak.  Now, several days and several chiropractor visits later, and still in pain, I have two things to say: a) don't abandon your sled on the hill and b) always listen to your mother.

(Note: somehow, while I landed groaning, my sister landed giggling.  Apparently she smacked her eyebrow, though, and I guess it hurts a little bit when she makes an expression of surprise or displeasure... poor thing...)

The Story of the Five Dollar Bill

Northampton is sometimes hilariously small.

The story of the five dollar bill goes like this:

My sister, Lily, and our friends Jeff, Gaea, and Abe were eating at Joe's Pizza.  When they went to pay for their meal, Abe pulled out the famous five dollar bill.  He noticed it had something written in Spanish on it, to a guy named "Jorge," from a girl named "Evita."  So he showed it to Jeff, who teaches Spanish, so he could translate.  Lily looked on... and then started wondering if "Evita" wasn't our friend Evie, and if "Jorge" wasn't her lover in Peru about whom she's been talking nonstop for months (and to whom she's been making terribly expensive long-distance phone calls for months...).  Then Gaea looked over and realized that, yes... Evie had written the note on the $5.  Gaea knew this because a) she was there when Evie wrote it and b) Evie had payed her back for something with said $5.  Gaea had spent the $5 in Cornucopia (the local health food store)... and now it had somehow ended up in Abe's pocket, soon to end up in the till at Joe's Pizza.  It's like our own local version of !

(Now I really want to start writing funny things on money that could only have been written by me so I can see where the money ends up going...  )

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Figs and Thistles

Damn.  I'm not very good at this blogging thing yet.  Secret number 5 to good blogging:  remember that you have a blog and then actually remember to write in it (does one write in a blog? on a blog?  to a blog?...).

Anyway, I realized that maybe I should also mention that I have another blog (because, you know, I'm so good at keeping up with this one...).  It contains original poetry by yours truly.  It's called "Figs and Thistles" and you'll find it at, or you can just click on my profile and there's a link to it from there.  

(If you get the reference in the title you win a prize.  I'm not sure what, but something cool.)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pizza and Jazz

I've decided that I like Sam's Cafe.  As a former devotee of Bart's, which years ago (how many years?) rented that storefront, I've been reluctant about frequenting the various restaurants that have moved in (and out) since Bart's closed.  But Sam's is actually okay, even if it's not Bart's.  I was absolutely starving this evening (having gotten home from work and slept for five hours, right through even a sophisticated late dinner time), and decided that a slice of pizza would do the trick.  Sam's was rather empty at the time, but I brought a book and read while a couple of guys played jazz in the corner.  Even though they didn't have much of an audience, they were enjoying themselves.  Pizza and jazz seem at first like an odd combination, but I think they work together quite nicely. 

I do miss Bart's though-- they made an espresso milkshake that could whoop a frappucino's ass.  And that cookie dough pie... But I guess pizza and jazz are finally an ok substitute.

Update: the ball that rises

Hello Noho.

Well, the New Year's news is that there is a new New Year's ball.  A ball to rise (not drop) at midnight, that is, not a ball like the upcoming inauguration balls for Obama (although that would be something-- Northampton should have that kind of New Year's ball!).  According to my sister, who read about it in the paper, this ball is going to be so beautiful that it will be left up all year for us to admire.  Sure enough, while crossing at the "Ee-uu" yesterday ("ee-uu is what a friend of mine calls the main intersection in town with the crosswalk that beeps "ee--uu, ee-uu" when it's the pedestrian's turn to cross the street), I looked over at the Hotel Northampton, and there it was.  Perched on the roof, it looks rather like a spectacular UFO from a planet where they use Christmas decorations as spaceships.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy New Year Noho

Hello Noho.  

I am starting this blog about you.  I need something to write about, and you are here, and I am here (and we are all together... bad pun, sorry).  I am currently sitting in Haymarket drawing a complete blank on how to start this, but am boldly going forward with it anyway.  According to Goethe, "Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it"-- and who wouldn't want their blog to be characterized by genius, power, and magic?  So I'm following his advice, "Begin it now."

I promise, btw, not to post anything too compromising here.  Like you, I want to get a "real" job one of these days... and while paper crumbles and fades over time, things put up in cyberspace (like the subjects of Shakespeare's sonnets) are apparently immortalized... or so I've been told by people far more technically savvy than I. But if you pass my way and are fascinating or funny or somehow capture my attention (or if everyone else around is boring and you are thus captivating by comparison), than be warned: you are fair game.

On to the actual subject of this post.  I am excitedly looked forward to the day after tomorrow (which is New Year's Eve, by the way).  I love New Year's Eve in Noho.  Most places drop a ball to celebrate the New Year.  Not here in Northampton.  Here we are special.  We don't fall into the New Year-- we rise to the challenge!... or something.  

For those of you who have never experienced a Northampton First Night, it goes like this.  At (or somewhere near...) the stroke of midnight, a ball covered in Christmas lights rises, somewhat shakily, from the roof of the Hotel Northampton.  Hordes of people crowd the intersection of Main and King/Pleasant (which is closed off to traffic for about an hour).  Shortly before 12, a canon goes off, scaring the shit out of everybody:  I usually jump about five feet in the air and end up five feet over from where I started, looking around dazedly, not quite sure how I got there.  Despite the crowds, you always run into everybody you know, and there is a lot of hugging.  And a lot of champagne.  And it's generally very merry.  I can't think of a better way to bring in the New Year.

So.  According to what I've read about blogging (and yes, my dear mother gave me a book on blogging for Christmas... ), the secrets to good blogging are: write fast, be snappy, don't edit.....and just post the darned thing immediately... so here goes.....  

I now have a blog.