Festive bucket man
This is the time of year when people who live in fancy newer parts of the city descend on quaint older parts of the city to take small-town family photos of themselves obstructing old bridges or standing in front of stately old trees that, as legend has it, predate even the Shake Shack. In these photos, everyone is smiling and there is usually a preponderance of flannel. Given the frequency with which I have inadvertently snuck up on such groups lately, I will be seen carrying a bucket and trash claw through the background of many holiday postcard photos this year.
I made this gingerbread recipe for neighbors. It’s good if you like gingerbread flavors in more of a cake form. The recipe dates back to the early 1900s, and comes courtesy of a favorite songwriter in Nashville.
If you want to get better at something, do it more often.
Card tricks have been a research interest of mine for lo these many years, but there is a definite limit to how good you can get at something by reading and thinking about it in isolation. For this reason, I believe a project of 2022 will be gaining more performance experience in informal situations. So, should you find me somewhere in the wild, please prevail upon me to show you some bit of skulduggery.
(I can extend this invitation because the chances of encountering me in the wild are, for most who will read this, quite slim. Unless you’re taking a holiday postcard photo.)
The idea of doing magic informally puts me in mind of the wonderful Oregonian eccentric Jerry Andrus, who was always happy to share a mind-bending illusion (of his own invention) at a moment’s notice. I managed to encounter him in a hotel lobby 20 years ago, by which point he was already in his 80s… and still a powerful creative force.
People are busy
For those wondering about the December “thanks” stats, which I believe describes approximately no one, they are not looking encouraging so far. My impression is that most people are too busy, buzzing around with their holiday to-do lists, to notice their surroundings to the extent necessary for such niceties. However, I would be glad to be proven wrong in the rest of this month’s outings.
One piece of contrary evidence: I was offered a cheeseburger fresh off the grill at a stranger’s picnic, on the presumption (I believe) that I was an unhoused person passing through the parking lot with bucket in hand. Of course, being a fussy sort, I don’t eat meat. But the kindness was nevertheless noted.
Less, not more
As consumers contributing to a vibrant economy go, I am terrible. I would be hard-pressed to think of what I actually need for Christmas. In fact, what I need most of all might be to clear out the odds and ends that tend to accumulate in corners and hidey-holes here and there, gradually impinging on one’s sense of spaciousness and free movement. There are ways in which more would be possible with less.