Happy 2019!

Happy New Year!

Today I’m closing out the last day of a Christmas vacation. It frankly hasn’t been a great vacation — I came down with a GI bug just before Christmas Day dinner at my brother’s house. I’d been fine when I left here, but an hour or so after we got there, things went south; I lost my appetite, was unable to eat my sister-in-law’s wonderful roast beef dinner, and when the chills started up, I knew I needed to get home, the sooner the better. I had my mother do the driving, and we nearly made it home before the puking started. Fortunately, I had a pan with me.

That night is a blur of fever and gastric upset. I distinctly remember thinking some code I’d written the week before must have had a bug in it that made me sick; I was dreaming of editing the code to fix the bug. I haven’t been that messily sick since I was a kid.

The rest of the week was only somewhat better. I spent Wednesday and Thursday kind of tippy-toeing around my GI tract — the fever was gone, and so was the imaginary coding, but I still felt nauseous, and I wasn’t eating much. So I spent most of the week playing games on my iPad, catching up on Twitter, and color correcting old photos. I’m finding that Photos does a much better job of color correcting underwater pictures than Aperture or iPhoto did (or else I’m better at it now) and I’ve been able to bring up some pictures quite nicely.

I did try to get out on Friday, to the Museum of Fine Arts to see the Ansel Adams exhibit, but as I drove past, I could see a line out the door, and I knew I was in no condition to stand in the rain waiting to get in.

I was finally feeling better enough to try again on Sunday, and did in fact, spend the afternoon there. It’s always cool to be able to see his actual photographic prints, made by hand, and signed by him. Juxtaposed with his pictures are some pictures of the same subject matter both by earlier photographers, and current artists.

I decided to give First Night another try yesterday. We were expecting rain in the evening, so I went in around 3 to see the ice sculptures, and take in a performance. I got into Copley just in time to get over to Old South Church to see a performance of the King of Instruments — Old South Church’s massive organ.

Old South Church's massive organ pipes
Organ pipes at the back of the church

The organist talked about all the various kinds of instruments it could emulate, and played about six pieces. It was very enjoyable.

Unfortunately, the rest of First Night was a real let down. I remember when there were massive multiple installations at both Copley and on the Common; this year, there were a couple at Copley Square, and then I walked up through the Public Gardens to the Common, and couldn’t even find the installation at first.

I finally found it: unlit, unloved, only about the size of my motorcycle, and with a pile of trash nearby:

Ice sculpture by the Frog Pond
Ice sculpture by the Frog Pond on the Common.

Compare this with this sculpture from ten years ago:

Ice sculpture of surfers, from December 31, 2008
“Pipeline” ice sculpture, from 2008

After finally finding the ice sculpture, I wandered around the Common a little, and got some pictures of the Christmas Tree. To be fair to First Night, the Grand Procession probably would have been cool, but rain was approaching, and it was already cold and raw, and the only other show I would have liked to have seen was another performance at Old South Church. It used to be that First Night had a variety of performances of all kinds at all sorts of venues across the city; now there are only a couple of locations and some open air performances at Copley Square. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. I headed home.

Today, the Christmas tree came down, and the living room’s been restored to its normal layout. It feels empty. The overnight rain left this morning, and left behind almost springlike temperatures, so I took the motorcycle out for an hour or so. It was great to be on the bike, and I was not the only motorcyclist out there. Tomorrow is back to work. It’s about time.

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