Sunday, June 28, 2015

Baltimore and Books and Bikes and Bardo(g). A Weekend in Fragments.

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.
  1. Baltimore Museum of Art. Saturday, 11:30a.

    A deliciously grey rainy day. The kind that melts the sky for hours. Sleeping with the windows open, recovering after 3 days of knock-down-drag-out mid-week flu. An impulsive trip up the parkway to B-more. To explore a new museum.. impressive modernist collection (a surprising Schiele, copious amounts of Matisse, a great late-Cezanne Mt. St. Victoire painting) and a good contemporary collection as well. But nothing that took my breath away - except sliding past the Louise Bourgeois tucked in the corner of the Cone Collection and staring at the rain through the plate glass windows..

    A fun dash through the rain for a burger and beer and then to Normal's. Where I picked up Writings and Drawings. Probably to send to JA.

  2. Escobar: Paradise Lost. Angelika Pop-Up. Saturday, 7p.

    Benicio del Toro as Pablo? Shots of the gorgeous Colombian countryside? Sign me up. The rest was fine and exciting and suspenseful - but I'll take Pablo playing in the pool with his grandkids, or the mountains outside Medellin any day.

  3. Fraser's Preserve. Sunday, 11:30a.

    A six mile hike to, and along, the rushing Potomac. Blissfully quiet, empty, serene. Stinging nettles. Puddles. Mud. An out-of-date guidebook. Delicious.

  4. The Two Rivers Ride. Sunday, 6:00p

    My favorite bike loop: Start on Benning Road, heading east to the Anacostia River Trail. Over the muddy Anacostia, full to the brim. Through the playgrounds and cookouts and basketball courts of River Terrace, under the tall trees on the CSX access road. Over the bridge across the train tracks, through Anacostia Park. The view of Navy Yard and the ballpark from the 11th Street Bridge:

    Looking West from the 11th Street Bridge. Anacostia Riverwalk Trail.

    A photo posted by Ben (@lonesomeace) on

    Back across the Anacostia on the South Capitol bridge. Left on P to the Titanic Memorial, along the bricks of Ft. McNair. Then through the radical deconstruction of the SW Waterfront (my god!) to the Jefferson Memorial. Over the 14th Street bridge to the Mt. Vernon Trail. Left to Gravelly Point. Then doubling back to the Memorial Bridge. [NB: Ride can be expanded in either direction here, depending on weather / human conditions]. Swoop south along West Potomac Park back to the Jefferson Memorial. Then re-trace steps through SW / SE / NE (I generally prefer 11th Street), ending at Bardo..

    Trinidad at the magic hour...

    A photo posted by Ben (@lonesomeace) on

    And that. Is a weekend. I could get used to it.

Now playing: Frank Ocean, Channel Orange. Of course.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


I've been listening to this a lot lately. And it's like White Dress in a way. That sample. Gill Scott-Heron as looped by Jamie XX. And the simplicity of the promise.

We all have our nights though
don't be so ashamed.
I've had mine,
You've had yours,
we both know.

And good news from the Cool Grey City of Love.. we won our motion. A win is a win and I'm happy my first argument went well. And now that the decision is out, I feel like a weight has been lifted.

Meanwhile, my old team at HHR is back in Paris indefinitely and YB has been asked to move there (even if temporarily). I'm a bit jealous. Missing my favorite spots. The exploration. The adventure. The long walks at night.. And, the thing is, if I wanted to go back I likely could. Though I'm not sure the trade-off is worth it..

Planning a solo overnight hike to the backcountry in Shenandoah on the 27th-28th. Some options here. I'm leaning towards Hannah Run (Nicholson Hollow) or Overall Run.. something about swimming holes and cascades and elevation.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Cool Gray City of Love

Precisely. I'm missing it. And, lately, Paris. Dinner recently with J - in DC from Paris for work - at Bistro du Coin. Pastis and Steak Tartare and Calvados. The simple things. Remembering last summer there - fondly.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


Oh San Francisco. Oh California. So many... words. Lost in the pauses and the fog.

I flew out last Tuesday for the hearing. Banking in over the Sierras, the sun shining bright at SFO. Spent two days preparing, holed in the hotel room in the Wharf. Surrounded by tourists and Eat at Joes and crowded boardwalks. But the views! Long runs along the bay, through Fort Mason and into the Marina district. Touching the Presidio.

Dinner and wandering North Beach. Finally making it to City Lights where I bought:

And a postcard.

Then the hearing on Thursday. Treating myself to a mint mojito from Philz afterwards. Sitting in an overstuffed chair, letting the SF conversations wash over me. Two more days of light meetings. Long walks. Drinks at Vesuvio. Ameoba in the Haight. Rambles on the F, sliding along the Embarcadero. Smitten in Hayes Valley. Ducking up the stairs of the old Fillmore West that's now a Honda dealership. Dinner in Chinatown with old friends. Those views - the hills. The smell of the water everywhere.

Reading Mislaid on the flight back (and thereafter). Perfect for my mood. Smart and snarky. Such incredible sentences, wry observations. Wit and intelligence for days. Her answer to the one-question Paris Review interview last winter tells you everything you need to know about her. That and the New Yorker profile. And, of course, the book itself. The plot caves in on itself at the end - but that's beside the point.