2018 Year in Review: Memorable Events


I started a tradition back in 1996 of making a list of the most memorable events of the year.  My definition of memorable can include both the positive and the negative, but generally it’s the good things that make the list.  That first list in 1996 had exactly twenty items, so I’ve made the list a top twenty every year since.

Here is my 23rd annual list.

  1. December 30 2017 – January 1, 2018 – New Year in Vermont

Technically, this partially occurred last year, but since I wrote last year’s list before it happened it didn’t make that list.  Anyhow, we finished out 2017/began 2018 with family and friends in Vermont which involved snow tubing, Anomia, Cataan, and a lot of Kathleens.

2. March 1 – New couch

We got a new couch.  It folds out into a bed.  It’s really fancy. We’re not used to fancy furniture.

3. March-September – Fantasy baseball

My son really wanted to play fantasy baseball so we put together a laid-back league of adults and children and had fun playing all season.  (my team finished third).

4. March 23 – NYBG Orchid Show

Flowers, flowers everywhere, even if it’s chilly outside.

5. March 23 – “Weird Al” concert

I saw “Weird Al” Yankovic in concert for the first time at the Apollo Theatre, of all places.  Also dined with good friends at Sylvia’s Restaurant.

6. Apri1 1-30 – I watched a ton of documentary films for the Blogging A-to-Z Challenge

7. April 15-20 – Great Wolf Lodge and North Carolina

We had a lovely spring break at the Williamsburg water park and then visiting family in North Carolina.

8. April-July – Youth Baseball

Once again my children had an exciting baseball season, my daughter in teeball, and my son at kid-pitch Junior level.  He even participated in the Mayor’s Cup Tournament!

9. June 10 – Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon

This fundraising ride is always a highlight.

10. June 17 – Father’s Day

As a whale of a dad, we celebrated the special day on the Stellwagen Bank on a whale watching journey.  We even saw a baby whale, bro!

11. June 28 – July 1 – Wolfe’s Neck Campground

A lovely weekend camping on the Maine coast with the added bonus of a goat hike!

12. July 21 – Janelle Monáe

We saw 2018’s top artist perform live and it was amazing.

13. August 14-18 – SAA Annual Meeting

I attended the Society of American Archivists annual meeting and even presented at the Archive-It Partner Meeting. When not learning about Archives, I got to enjoy some time in Washington, DC, and in the evenings I went to a DC United game and a Nationals game.

14. August 28 – September 1 – Chicago

Our summer vacation to Chicago included museums, parks, art, architecture, a Cubs game, a White Sox game and time spent with some fun cousins.

15. September 4 & November 6 – Primary Election and General Election

This was an important election year and I was pleased that Massachusetts candidates Ayanna Pressley, Rachael Rollins, Nika Elugardo, and Jon Santiago all won challenging primaries and eventually the general elections as well as the passage of Yes on 3 to protect equality for transgender people.  Not every election went as I liked, but significant steps forwards were made.

16. October  – The Red Sox win the World Series

It was another exciting Red Sox season, and we attended several Red Sox games.  Oddly, they lost a number of them including an 8-0 loss to the Mets in September (who I secretly cheered for while my children elbowed). But the Red Sox won when it counted, including the ALCS Game on October 14 that I attended with my son, and eventually the World Series.  We celebrated at the Red Sox Victory Parade on Halloween

17. October 31 – Halloween Trick or Treat

Recently on Halloween, I’ve stayed home to hand out candy, so I had the delight of joining my children – or should I say Bigfoot and a Ghost Chicken – as they collected loot in our neighborhood.

18. November 24 – Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

I took my family on their first visit to these national monuments which included visiting Lady Liberty’s crown and finding the name of my great-grandmother on the Wall of Honor.

19. November 30 – December 2 – Birthday Celebration in New Hampshire

I turned 45 this year, but my kids – also November babies – had bigger parties.  So we celebrated late by staying in a cabin in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.  We enjoyed snow-shoeing and riding the Santaland Express.

20. Following up on last year, I had an ongoing activity that I can’t speak of online, but came to a joyous resolution this year.

Previously:

An even dozen


Hokey smokes, I completely forgot to commemorate by 12th anniversary of this blog’s first on December 4, 2006!  It seems amazing to do anything for 12 years, much less spend hundreds of hours writing something no one reads. (j/k)

Here are some thoughts on being twelve:

  • This is the 3,049th post I’ve published.
  • In the past year I’ve quit Facebook and Tumblr, so I’m trying to rely on this blog to connect with people even more.
  • Nevertheless, I still maintain an accounts on Instagram, Pocket, and two Twitter accounts: @Othemts for general tweets and @ArchivaLiam for archives & library issues.
  • I also moved my Doctor Who sideblog from Tumblr to WordPress.
  • I’m curious about what other social media alternatives may be out there.  Mastodon? MeWe? Vero?  Where’s the next bold internet venture where all the good people are hanging out?
  • This year I debuted the following new features;
    • Monthly Mixtape – the best new songs from every month.
    • City Stories – my personal reflections on experiences in the world’s great cities
  • I created new pages as indexes to help you find some of my best back posts:
  • I enjoyed participating in the following blogging projects:
    • AdventWord – reflections and photographs for each day in Advent.  I should be doing this again right now but I’m not so organized this year.
    • Blogging A to Z Challenge – in which I watched and reviewed documentary films
    • 30 Day Song Challenge – 30 of my favorite songs and stories that go with them.

 

My most popular posts from the past year according to WordPress stats:

  1. VOTE on September 4th! Massachusetts Primary Elections
  2. Major League Baseball Expansion: A 32 Team Option
  3. Concert Review: Janelle Monáe
  4. Movie Review: Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (2012) #atozchallenge
  5. Album Review: The Beatles “White Album” Super Deluxe Edition

Here are five of my personal favorite posts that I think more people should read and comment on:

But most of all, I really, REALLY want people to give some attention to my City Stories.  I plan to write more of these in 2019 and it would be great to get some feedback.

  1. Brooklyn
  2. Derry
  3. London
  4. Chicago
  5. Venice

And now onto a Lucky 13th year!

Previously:

Bonny and blithe, and good and gay


On this date, in 1973, at 9:34 am, I was born. Which makes today my 45th birthday. Like today, it was a Sunday, so that makes me a Sabbath child.

This means I’m halfway to 90, and since most people don’t live until 90, it means I’ve most likely lived more years in the past than I will have to live in the future.

Speaking of 90, today is the 90th birthday of Mickey Mouse, which means we’re at a point where half of Mickey Mouse’s life was before I was born, and half of Mickey Mouse’s life coincides with my own.

Other notable birthdays on November 18 include David Ortiz, Chloë Sevigny, and Steven Moffat.  Happy birthday gang!

Five years ago I published my 40 for the Forties list. I’ve updated if you want to see what progress I’ve made.

I also wrote birthday posts for my 34th, 35th, 36th, and 43rd birthdays, if you feel like reminiscing.

Massachusetts & Me: Two Decades Together


20 years ago today I drove a rental truck down the narrow streets of Winter Hill in Somerville and officially became a resident of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Nine years later almost to the day, I moved to Boston proper in my present home in Jamaica Plain.  20 years is by far the most time I’ve resided in any state (compared with 15 years in Connecticut, 7 years in Virginia, and 2 years in New Jersey), and close to half of my life.

Living in Massachusetts this long means making many friends, some of whom have moved on to other states, and then meeting new, interesting people.  I’ve developed annual traditions, found favorite restaurants (sadly, many of which have closed), gone to tons of concerts and sporting events, visited museums and historic sites, participated in protests and celebrations, and settled into comfortable routines.  And yet there’s so much more to see and do and explore.

It’s all gone by so quickly, so let’s look back at some of the highlights of my 20 years in the Bay State:

1998-2000 – I work sundry temp jobs at GTE, Genzyme, and MIT, and also spend some time unemployed. FUN!

1999-present – began commuting around Boston & environs by bicycle, and while I don’t ride nearly as much as I used to, it’s still a great way to get around the city.

1999 & 2000 – Participated in the Boston –> New York AIDSRide

1999-2006 – Not really in Massachusetts, but living in day trip distance of New Hampshire’s White Mountains meant I could do a lot of hikes of 4000 foot peaks.

2000 – Started working at a library, where I’m still working 3 job changes, 7 offices, and 12 supervisors later.

2000 – Begin leading historical walking tours as a guide for Boston By Foot.

2001-2013 – Participate in a wonderful church community at the Paulist Center in downtown Boston.

2002-2004 – Studied for my Masters in Library and Information Science at the Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science.

2004 – Witnessed the Red Sox win their first World Series in 86 years.

2005 – Married Susan!

2007 – Saw the Red Sox win the World Series again.

2007 – Peter Born!

2008 – Spend a couple of weeks suffering from crippling sciatica and missing work. :(

2009 – I performed in the annual Christmas Revels show.  I even sang a solo!

2010-2011 – I write and lead a new tour for Boston By Foot for the Avenue of the Arts.

2011 – Kay Born!

2011-2012 – I create and lead another Boston By Foot Tour in Somerville’s Davis Square.

2012 – 2013 – Sang in a family chorus in JP.

2012-present – Our kids attend a wonderful Boston Public School and we get to meet lots of cool teachers, kids, and parents (and become public education activists).

2013 – sang as part of a 50-voice choir in Somerville Theatre bringing the music of Beck to life with burlesque dancers.

2013 – Horrified by the Boston Marathon bombing but touched by the many people who helped save lives and the spirit of the community in the ensuing days.

2013-present – Our kids play in the wonderful Regan Youth League

2013-present – become active in another fantastic church community closer to home, Hope Central.

2013 – Watched the Red Sox win yet another World Series, this time with a 5-year-old superfan

2014-2015 – I write and lead yet another new tour for Boston By Foot of Cambridge Common

2015 – Four consecutive blizzards in a matter of weeks bury Boston in a 108″ of snow.

2017-2018 – Yet again, I’m involved in creating a new tour for Boston By Foot, this time of the SoWa District.

Lucky 13


Today my lovely bride Susan and I celebrate 13 years of wedded bliss. It’s good to remember that day in 2005 when we had over 100 of our friends and family present, sailed on a boat, played kickball, danced, and ate yummy cake.  It was a beautiful day.  The 4748 days in-between have been pretty good too!

Happy Anniversary, Susan!

Brand New Music Pages


Have you ever wanted find all of my music posts in one place?  I’ve created a new music page which you can find in the menu at the top of this blogs homepage.   The music has three sub-pages.

Album Reviews

Reviews of recently released albums.

All-Time Favorites

Lists of my favorite songs and albums.

Music Discoveries.

My attempts to learn more about a band or artist by listening to all or most of their back catalog.

 

2017 Year in Review: Memorable Events


I started a tradition back in 1996 of making a list of the most memorable events of the year.  My definition of memorable can include both the positive and the negative, but generally it’s the good things that make the list.  That first list in 1996 had exactly twenty items, so I’ve made the list a top twenty every year since.

Here is my 22nd annual list.

January to March – Photography Course: I began to learn how to put my DSLR camera to use.

January 21st – Boston Women’s March: We live in frightening times, but it was inspiring to join 125,000 other people on the Boston Common who believe in making our country a better place.

February 20-25 – Florida: Vacationed in the Sunshine State with stops at Walt Disney World, spring training, the beach, and the Everglades

March 24-25 – New England Archivists Spring Meeting: I presented at a conference for the first time.  It was also memorable because I was horribly sick that weekend too.

April 14-16 – Easter in New York: Took the kids to visit their Nana in the City, featuring stops at a chocolate museum, Coney Island, Pelham Bay Park, and the Bronx Zoo.

April – September 24 – Youth Baseball:  My daughter played he first year in teeball and my son’s team had a thrilling season winning their division championship.  Then he played in the Mayor’s Cup. And his team even appeared on NESN Clubhouse.

May 2 – November 7 – Tito Jackson for Mayor: My first time actively participating in a political campaign.  I gathered signatures, stood out with placards, and marched in the Wake Up and the Earth and Pride Parades.  I wish I could’ve done more, but mostly I wish Tito won the election. Still, got to meet an inspiring group of people with a positive vision for Boston’s future.

May 27-29 – Memorial Day in New York: Visited with my mother in New York sans children and we explored the Chihuly exhibits at the New York Botanical Garden, visited Lower Manhattan, and took in the art at the Metropolitan Museum.

June 4 – Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon: Riding with my kids in this annual event is always memorable.

June 18 – Father’s Day at Canobie Lake: I was feted with roller coasters and log flume rides.

June 26 – 3rd Grade Freedom Trail Trip: Chaperoned my son’s class tour of the Freedom Trail where the kids themselves presented on each of the sites.

July 15 – Castle Island: A beautiful summer day with friends and breezes off the Boston Harbor.

July 18 – City Splash: I swam in the Charles River and loved it.

July 28-30 – Tully Lake Campground: camping in Massachusetts, featuring a bird watching walk and disc golf.

August 13-19 – Wildwood Camp: My son went away to sleepaway camp for the first time!

August 21 – Solar Eclipse: Joined a crowd in Arnold Arboretum to watch the sun (mostly) disappear.

August 27 – SoWa Tour BBF Guide of the Month: Researched, wrote, and lead a tour of this evolving South End neighborhood.

September 1-5 – Mount Desert Island: A magical weekend at Acadia National Park and environs.

November 22-26 – Thanksgiving: Another weekend in New York, featuring the Thanksgiving Day Parade a visit to Wave Hill, and a concert by the New York Philharmonic.

Five Questions with Besty Rosenblatt Rosso:  Did you know that I appeared on a podcast.

Just a note here to remind myself of a 20th and final memorable event that wouldn’t be prudent to publish publicly.

Previously:

This blog goes to 11


I published the first post on this blog on December 4, 2006.  Although that anniversary passed a week ago, I did not want to let it go unremarked upon.  So here are some thoughts on being eleven:

  • This is the 2,676 post published to this blog.
  • I’ve now been blogging for one quarter of my life which seems like a pretty remarkable portion of time.
  • Still, it could’ve been longer.  I regret not going through with my thoughts of signing up for a LiveJournal in the early 2000s.  It would be fun to look back at now.
  • I’ve reverted back to the original name of this blog, Panorama of the Mountains.  It was foolish to believe that anything else could be more suited.
  • I’ve also redecorated.  Tell me what you think!
  • I’ve recently started using Instagram.  You can see it on the sidebar or check out my account. I’m trying to take interesting photographs everyday which I share there.
  • I’m still also using Tumblr (Portals of Discovery) and have a ridiculous Doctor Who-themed sideblog.
  • And you may find me tweeting at @othemts (general tweets, mostly politics and sports) or @archivaliam (professional tweets related to libraries, archives, records management), but I’m taking a bit of a rest from Twitter right now.

These are the five most viewed posts published in the past year:

Here are five posts that I like that need more love:

So that was the year that was…

 

 

Previously:

2016 Year in Review: Memorable Events


I started a tradition back in 1996 of making a list of the most memorable events of the year.  My definition of memorable can include both the positive and the negative, but generally it’s the good things that make the list.  That first list in 1996 had exactly twenty items, so I’ve made the list a top twenty every year since.

Here is my 21st annual list.

Feb 9 – Shrove Tuesday – I helped cook pancakes and lots of bacon (quite the achievement for a vegetarian) and then listened to the confession of some very funny sins

Feb 22 – Harris Hill Ski Jump Competition

All Year – Activism to support public education in Boston and Massachusetts including protesting the State of the City address, a Walk-in and Rally for Boston Public Schools, the BPS Student Walkout, and the successful effort to defeat the ballot initiative to allow unlimited charter school expansion.

March – My mother moves to the Bronx, meaning that we get to see my mother more often and visit New York frequently.  In fact, I made 7 trips to New York City this year and spent a total of 3 weeks visiting!  Highlights include multiple visits to the Bronx Zoo, the Harlem Meer in Central Park, the Hall of Fame for Great Americans,  the Empire State Building, a Circle Line Cruise, the Thanksgiving Day Parade, and the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden.

April 16-18 – Patriots Day Weekend in Boston

April – participating in the A to Z Challenge

April to June – my son’s baseball season. It was a close-knit team and I got to help out keeping score.  The highlight was when the team rallied to score 18 runs in the last inning when they were down by 14 (they lost the game anyway, but they were so proud)

June 19 – The Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon

July 2 – riding the Codzilla on Boston Harbor and then watching hip hop dancers and fireworks at Christopher Columbus Park

August 6 – Susan’s Birthday at McCoy Stadium

Aug 17 – Taking a sunset cruise on the MBTA ferry with my son while my wife and daughter were on a pirate ship

Sep 12 – My daughter starts kindergarten at our local public school, meaning that both kids are finally at the same school, with the same schedule, and same drop-off & pick-up!

Oct 10 – A visit to Old Sturbridge Village

May to October – another great Boston By Foot season, leading 31 walking tours.  The highlight was a tour to two women from Toronto who told me that their first stop in Boston was the Warren Anatomical Museum

Oct 29 – A Halloween Prowl at Moose Hill Sanctuary

Oct 30 – got to have fun on four separate visits to amusement parks, including one day at Rye Playland, and three times to Canobie Lake Park.  The last time was during Screeemfest when I took my son and two of his besties to celebrate his birthday.  We had to run from monsters, but the boys also went on the Corkscrew for the first (second, third, and fourth) times.

Nov 1 – chaperone for a 3rd grade trip to Plimoth Plantation with three great kids who asked lots of interesting questions

Nov 8 – the election, memorable if not for good reasons, although I prefer to remember when progressive ideals got widespread support and exposure during the Bernie Sanders campaign, which also gives me some hope for the future

Nov 24 – Thanksgiving Day Parade

Previously: