25 Years Ago Today: I Graduate From College


On May 14, 1995, I completed four years of undergraduate education at the College of William & Mary in Virginia (that is its official name).  In many ways, it feels like yesterday as the years since I went to college have gone by much faster than the years leading up to college.  And yet, I also feel that I have changed quite a bit in the intervening years.

Me with W&M icon Ernestine Jackson.

I was so anxious then but more confident in myself now.  Conversely, I was more social then but much more comfortable spending time alone now.  Even when it comes to learning, I look back and am appalled at how slapdash I was in studying and research. And yet I learned things at the time that I could expound upon at length, that I can’t remember anything about now. Oh, and that whole thing about getting more conservative as you get older? Not true.  I’ve moved much farther to the Left as I’ve become increasingly cognizant of the woes of the world.

A very wet but memorable procession across campus.

Anyhow, here is what I remember about that Sunday (which was also Mother’s Day) when I officially became a college graduate:

  • It rained.  On the traditional walk across campus from the William & Mary’s historic Wren Building to the William & Mary Hall arena, the heavens unleashed a deluge of biblical proportions.  Graduation gowns provide absolutely no protection from the rain.
  • We were warned about increased security because of our commencement speaker (see below), but no one really checked us at all.
  • Former President George Bush spoke.  I’ve always been grateful that he kept his remarks short, not least because it was uncomfortable sitting in damp robes.  He mentioned “a kinder, gentler nation” and “a thousand points of light,” castigated the NRA (to great cheers, even in Virginia), and told a joke about a long commencement speech at Yale. In this yarn the speaker expounded on a word starting with each letter in YALE for 30 minutes each.  The punchline is a student praying to “thank God I didn’t go to The College of William & Mary in Virginia).
  • After the main ceremony, we went to the diploma ceremonies hosted by each discipline. I double-majored, and chose to receive my diploma at the English department ceremony rather than History (I can’t remember why, but it was a good choice, because my friend who went to History said they bungled the ceremony).
  • My mother hosted a reception for friends and families.  My sister had too much punch and introduced herself as my brother.

And that’s about all I can remember about that day. I was a college graduate.  Four months later I started working as an historical interpreter at Colonial Williamsburg. Three years later I moved to Boston.  Five years later I started working in a library.  Nine years later I received a master’s degree in Library and Information Science.  Ten years later I got married.  Twelve years later I became a Dad.  Sixteen years later I had two kids.  And now, here we are twenty-five years later!

Related Posts:

Baker’s Dozen (13 Years of Panorama of the Mountains)


Hey, did you like how this blog turned into a Movie Review blog?  Thirteen years ago, I decided to start a blog but couldn’t figure out a topic to focus on.  Hence the name “Panorama.”

3,456 posts later and this blog still has no focus.  I’ve gone through trends where I posted a lot about librarianship, Catholic saints, links of the day, photographs, routine baseball updates, so very many book reviews, so many memes, beer, travelogues, so many podcasts, favorite albums of all time, favorite books of all time, favorite songs by year, my efforts to watch more soccer, A to Z Challenges, biking and transit issues, public school activism, and some general navel gazing.

I’m not sure if this blog is ever going to have a point, but I do enjoy taking the time to write in it whatever the topic that comes to mind. I’ve never been sure who, if anyone, is really reading this blog.  There are of course viewership states from WordPress, and sometimes I find my blog mentioned in odd places, such as a citation for a Wikepedia article (which is weird!).  But if you’re out there and reading this and at any time found Panorama of the Mountains interesting or helpful, I thank you!

13 years down, and it looks like I will keep blogging until I run out of things to write about.

Previously:

46


46 years ago yesterday, President Richard Nixon delivered what became known as his “I am not a crook” speech.  This went down as a key moment in the downfall of his presidency, and Nixon would resign less than 9 months later.

There are a couple of things that fascinates me about this historical event.  One, it took place at Walt Disney World, specifically the Contemporary Resort where the monorail passes through, which strikes me as a strange place for a president to deny his crimes.  Two, on a more personal level, I was born the next day so the headlines of the newspapers on the day I was born were all about the “I am not a crook” speech.

Here’s a couple of examples from New York Newsday and the New York Times:

 

After looking back to a highly-relevant past, I also look towards the future.  I have high hopes for 46 in more ways than one.

As always, happy birthday to my November 18th fam: Mickey Mouse, Steven Moffat, David Ortiz, and Chloë Sevigny!

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Every Movie I’ve Ever Watched*


Several years ago I made a list of Every Book I’ve Ever Read and since then I’ve used both this blog and LibraryThing to keep track of my reading history.  I got to thinking recently that I’d also like to have a list of Every Movie I’ve Ever Watched.  I sought out an app similar to LibraryThing for movies and the best I could find is Trakt, which did the job, but it’s not very user friendly so I can’t recommend it.

Nevertheless, I have a list of 1483 movies and counting.  The asterisk is there because I’m certain I’ve forgotten many movies I watched in the distant past.  The list is also embarrassing because in my teens and twenties I had both insomnia and cable tv, meaning I watched lots of baaaaaaaaad movies.   On the other hand there are numerous all-time classic movies I’ve never seen, so I’m making an effort to watch some great movies from the 1920s to present that I’ve missed.  I will start posting my Classic Movie Reviews on August 1. If there’s a movie you think I should watch, let me know in the comments.

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:

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.

New Page: Movie Reviews


I don’t know why I never did this before, but I added a page to the bar of links at the top of this blog’s homepage with a list of all the Movie Reviews I’ve written since this blog went live in 2006.  So, if you’re looking for ideas on a movie to watch, or you watched a movie and want to know what I thought of it, this is your one-stop shopping.

Hey, I didn’t advertise this, but did you notice that I tried to watch and review a movie every day in February?  I didn’t quite make it, but added quite a few movies to this list.  There will be more movie fun coming up in April.

What are you reading in 2018?


In years past, I’ve made a list of books I plan to read in the coming year.  You can find my current Book List 2018 up in the navigation bar with a drop-down list for previous years.

I’ve made things less complicated this year instead of listing out books to read, I’m just going to use my existing wishlist at LibraryThing.  I will also be trying to keep track of audiobooks, books for my Around the World for a Good Book project, and books for  Book Riot’s 2018 Read Harder Challenge.

I will post the books that I’ve actually completed reading with a link to review and books I’m currently reading on the Book List 2018 page as well.  If you’re reading something good, I’d love to hear about it and I’m always happy to open a discussion of books on this blog.

Science Fiction Double Feature – Vanity Edition


Last night I watched on Netflix an episode of Star Trek and an episode of The Twilight Zone back to back.  The thread that connected these two tv shows together is their guest actor, a man who shares my name, Liam Sullivan.  Despite my best efforts, he is probably the most famous Liam Sullivan of all time, known for his many appearances on television shows, particularly as a villain (albeit I’d argue he plays a sympathetic character in The Twilight Zone episode).

Sullivan is quoted as saying about his villainous roles:

“Playing truly evil people is a great way to release tension and anger and disgust with humanity. Show bad people what they really look and act like and maybe they’ll recognize themselves and change. Who knows?”

I remember seeing Liam Sullivan’s name in the credits of tv shows when I was growing up and it was a treat.  Unlike the present day when the name Liam is a frequent top ten baby name for boys, it was an unusual name outside of Ireland in the 1970s and 80s.  It’s all the more remarkable that the actor Liam Sullivan was born and named in Illinois in 1923.

In the Star Trek episode “Plato’s Stepchildren” (1968), Sullivan plays Parmen, an immortal with telekinetic powers who cruelly bullies and torments the crew of the Enterprise.  This is third season Star Trek episode so you have to look past some plot and dialogue absurdities to appreciate the actually very strong acting performances put in by both the series’ regulars and guest actors like Sullivan and Michael Dunn.  This episode is famous for the interracial kiss between Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura.  The kiss is actually forced by Parmen in his efforts to humiliate the crew, so hey, someone named Liam Sullivan is behind one of the most famous moments in television history.

The Twilight Zone episode “The Silence” is a rare instance of the show not featuring a supernatural or extraterrestrial element, and is in fact based on an Anton Chekov story called “The Bet.”  Sullivan plays Jamie Tennyson, a young member of a gentleman’s club who talks constantly much to the irritation Colonel Archie Taylor (Franchot Tone).  Sullivan appears much younger in this show although it’s only 7 years earlier than Star Trek, and appropriately, is ruggedly handsome.  Taylor proposes a wager that Tennyson must remain silent for twelve months under observation of club members, and should he do so would win half a million dollars.  Since Sullivan doesn’t speak for much of the episode, it is remarkable how well he conveys emotions through facial expressions and movements.  This is especially true when Taylor begins to realize he may lose the bet and starts to cruelly torment Tennyson. The episode has a twist at the end as you might expect, one which I’m not sure would actually work physically, but shocking all the same.

So that’s the story of my name in lights.  Who is the most famous person that shares your name with you?  Do you feel any kinship with them?

Related post: People Who Are Not Me