Last month of the weirdest year of my life. Let’s get it!
Last month of the weirdest year of my life. Let’s get it!
It snowed overnight last Thursday, and for most of the day Friday. Despite adequate warning and a couple of cold weeks to get us acclimated, it still felt too early for snow. Is sure was pretty though.
For your listening enjoyment-
I can safely say that David McCullough is one of my favorite authors. McCullough is a guy who was initially recommended several years ago by my dad, who also loves nerdy books about history and engineering. The Path Between the Seas is a book that I have been working on since the summer. I honestly didn’t have much time to read for pleasure this summer because of the amount of renovation work that has consumed the majority of my free time. So, at 600+ pages this one took a few months for me to get through. Admittedly I also thought the book started out a bit slow. But once I got past the story of the failed French attempt to the part where John Stevens took over the canal project, I had trouble putting the book down. The dude was such a badass that in order to avoid freezing to death one night while scouting railroad lines in present day Montana, he spent the entire night pacing back in forth in sub-zero temps after his Native American guide had abandoned him. Afterward, he proceeded on without the guide and finished the job. They don’t make ’em like they used to.
Anyway, I found the engineering aspects of the Panama Canal fascinating. It is pretty incredible what they built with such crude (by present day standards) machinery. I would definitely recommend this one to any of my fellow history nerds.
Being in nature during these crazy times has really been a game changer. B and I are entering the third consecutive season living in the Catskills (not counting March as part of winter, even though it was still snowing a lot). Fall can be a tricky time emotionally. It is a signal that winter and cold are around the corner. But there are plenty of trade offs: wearing sweaters, enjoying a fire in the evening, all of the fall spices, football (even though my team may not play this year), and last but not least, the autumnal foliage. The changing leaves are so beautiful, even from the windows of our house. By nothing other than dumb luck, we bought a place that is literally steps from one of the best views (my very biased opinion) in the Catskills. Even though Britt and I have been insanely busy with work and are spending all of our free time working on the house, Britt convinced me to do a golden hour walk to the lookout. It was generously rewarded. Thank you, mother nature for all of your dramatic autumn glory.
I traditionally struggle to put together a strong playlist for October. There are several reasons for that. One is that there isn’t a lot of new music being released as summer is winding down. Another is that I’m generally insanely busy with work. Even though this is another relatively short playlist, I’m into it more than the October iterations of yore. I dropped in a couple of clutch throwback tracks. Chemical Brothers will always remind me of autumn. I have a vivid memory from my early years as an NYer- blown away by the dramatic colors of changing leaves. I was still a student at the time, but had managed to get my hands on my first real German built sports sedan. It was late evening and I was driving solo, going through the gears, whipping around on some country back-roads in LI with the sunroof open and heat blasting. The musty smell of damp leaves on the ground mixed with someone’s fireplace smoke had my heart racing. The soundtrack was Chemical Brothers’ “Star Guitar” turned up to 11 on the custom sound system I had built (I was into that sort of thing back then). In the rearview mirror I could see leaves flying up in the air behind the car, like some scene out of a Batman movie. As my current-day self, it seems super corny when I reflect on the experience (as with many other experiences I had as a twenty-something year old boy). But that fall evening I felt a very Zen moment that has stuck with me all of these years.
Get your own autumn vibes right here:
Britt and I have spent the lions share of our free time over the past several months working on our house. As a result, there has been very little downtime and (for all of the other painfully obvious pandemic related reasons as well) socializing has been almost nonexistent. We are lucky enough to have met a few of our neighbors (more than we ever knew living in NYC), and they are all cool. We took a break from the work around the house on Labor Day and went for a hike at nearby Kelly Hollow with our backyard neighbors and brought our respective dogs along to socialize.
When I say “backyard” I mean, we literally own properties that abut each other at the rear property lines. During this hike, we hatched a plan to make a trail between our two houses. This is awesome for me, because as a kid my best friend lived in the house right behind mine. During the summers I had perpetual splinters in my knees from climbing over the cedar fence in our backyard to go hangout at my friend’s house.
It is a little bit of a different scenario here. But the novelty of it is not lost on me. In the week since Labor Day, Britt has been busy raking a trail up through the woods. On Sunday, she met our neighbors at the half way mark, where they had also been clearing a trail from their end. Pretty awesome, in my opinion. Like a mini version of the golden spike!
Here are a couple more snaps from our Labor Day weekend in the Catskills:
Hard to believe that summer is already over. As weird as it has been, it did not feel long enough. This month’s playlist is a shortie. Enjoy!
Time flies! I can’t believe it has been five years since I started this rag. Happy fifth birthday to Jake.News!
Last time I rode across the bridge in the photo above, it was on a R1200GS in 2014. If you would have told me six years ago that I would be living up here, I probably would have laughed pretty hard. Last week I took some time off work for a trip that ended up not materializing. But I was able to capitalize on the time off anyway thanks to some nice weather last Monday and spent the morning exploring Rt. 30, along with all of the little side roads (most of which turn into logging trails if you follow them far enough). It was a really awesome time. I was able to get in just over 100 miles worth of combined pavement and dirt riding. I brought the Fujifilm X100s along with me. Here are some snaps from the adventure.