*It would appear that the case of writer's block that has been nagging at me recently has extended to this journal. Part of me feels bad about that, but part of me feels that it's kind of inevitable when a writer is struggling to get things down on the page.

*I'm probably the last person on earth to mention it, but if you haven't already given a listen to the soundtrack of Hamilton, you are missing out. This is an audacious and energetic production that celebrates the history of both America and American musical theater, all while injecting a spirit of inclusion and innovation that would do the Founding Fathers proud. I'm hoping to see it live someday soon, but in the meantime, I'll be singing "You'll Be Back" and "Take a Break" and "The Room Where It Happens" and marveling at the complex political braggadocio of "Cabinet Battle #1." By all means, feel free to join me.

*I got my first winter birding session in, though technically it was still autumn. Still, any time I take the spotting scope out and set it up to look at waterfowl, I feel I'm doing winter birding, rather than the binocular-driven walking-through-the-woods birding I do in the spring and summer. In this case, I was setting up near the Farley Vale ponds that line route 3 east of Fredericksburg; I'd stopped at them a number of times on my way to another favorite waterfowl spot (Pope Creek, at the George Washington Birthplace National Monument), but this time I was headed there with a specific species in mind: the Sandhill Crane. Rare bird alerts had noted a quartet of cranes in the area over a period of several weeks, and I hadn't seen one in several years, so it seemed like a good place to start, and sure enough, it was. The broad, shallow ponds are wintering spots for not only migrating cranes, but for dozens of mature and juvenile Bald Eagles, not to mention hordes of gulls and ducks. As a result, the year list grew nicely over the course of my morning in the area, including a few surprises like Tundra Swans and Northern Shovelers, and I enjoyed the chance to get out of Richmond traffic for a few hours. I'm looking forward to visiting a few other spots in the neighborhood when the cold really sets in.

*Kelly and I are about halfway through the thirteen episodes of Marvel's JESSICA JONES series, and let me tell you, I have Thoughts about it. I'm going to wait until we're done watching before I record any of them, but let's just say that you'll look long and hard to find a series that comments on gender issues as well as this one. It's not at all easy to watch at times, but damn, as a dramatic production it's excellent--and as a rhetorical statement, it's almost unique.

*For the first time in twenty years, Thanksgiving was not a working vacation for me. In Woodberry's trimester system, teachers spend the break finishing up the grading of exams, the calculating of trimester grades, and the writing of comments on each student's performance. Because Seven Hills is on a quarterly system, however, I did all my grading and commenting earlier in November--and was able, for the first time since the late 90s, to drive south for Thanksgiving with my extended family. My brother and his wife played host, and the twenty-odd relatives who attended brought a truly spectacular array of foodstuffs, including fried turkey, roasted turkey, ham, stuffing, rice & gravy, green bean casserole, squash casserole, black-eyed peas, and some of the best hush puppies it has ever been my pleasure to consume. I think we'll probably go back.

*If I can get my block to step aside for a bit, I can see myself writing at some length in the near future about a couple of topics: JESSICA JONES, the ongoing controversy over UNC's academic scandal, social media, and my middle-school experience(s). Watch this space.

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This page contains a single entry by Peter Cashwell published on December 2, 2015 10:24 AM.

Why the NCAA Should Let Duke's Loss to Miami Remain a Loss was the previous entry in this blog.

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