Started off the day with a trip to the Belmont Street Fair and a visit to the old firehouse there, which is now a museum. Great use of firefighting stuff to make up the practicalities of the museum, such as ladders as display elements and fire hoses as railings. This particular firehouse has been in use since fire engines were pulled by horses, and still has the old hayloft and hose tower. I got to slide down (a segment of) the fire pole, and see the mechanism of a fire alarm (a very simple spring-powered clockwork to send out the alarm’s location code). And you know those big round things they used to use to catch people jumping out of burning buildings? They stopped using them because, although it might save one person’s life, a single use would often destroy the shoulders or backs, and hence careers, of three or four firemen.
Next came a dim sum expedition to Fong Chong, to celebrate the return of Robin Catesby to Portland. Mary Hobson was there, along with numerous other writer-types, and I talked with her about the Damn Novella, which she has read in its current state and assures me it’s fine. (Which is not to say it doesn’t have any problems; they always have problems even when they’re done and published — see this post by Elizabeth Bear.) I will give it one last quick pass tomorrow and put it in the mail on Monday.
After that, we returned to the Belmont Street Fair and wandered the booths and storefronts, drinking coffee and counting black dogs. I love my town, and my neighborhood. I got to ride on a Segway — it was strange and freaky, like standing on a wobbly wheeled chair that, for no apparent reason, doesn’t tip over and dump you on your butt. Along the way we hit a couple of rummage sales and picked up a bunch of used CD’s. Next to us some teenaged or early-twenties kids enthused over CD’s from the 1970’s. “Dude! It’s Boston! If I owned these I’d never sell them!” Oddly disturbing.
Back home for a nap and a quick dinner of peanut butter sandwiches before heading out again for Garrison Keillor at the Symphony. Between Garrison and the opening night of the Time-Based Art Festival (maybe other things too), the whole area was rocking. Though it was hard to find a parking place, I’m glad to live in a town with a vibrant and lively downtown. The performance itself was as entertaining as you’d expect, an interesting integration of Garrison’s usual radio show schtick with classical music. I wonder how much of it was improvised.
And so, after an evening snack of corn flakes, to bed.