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2008-11-10 - 3:35 p.m.

Mondays make me a little sad. I know that's not a particularly groundbreaking observation, but it's true. Especially after the weekend, after movies and friends and football and pitchers of beer and long walks with the dog and ginkgo trees on Calvert Street all ablaze with yellow. After all that, Mondays are a comedown, the quiet after the storm, when you look around at your Monday routine and say, "Oh, right." Friday, saw the new Guy Ritchie movie, which was loud and fun. Saturday, a bunch of us saw William Elliot Whitmore (banjo-blues-songs-about-pine-boxes guy), Murder by Death (the singer has an incredibly deep voice for being small), and local heroes J. Roddy Walston and his Business (I've seen them probably fifteen times now). Very crowded show. Leaning-in-with-the-shoulder, moving-sideways-through-groups-of-people kind of show. And then Kevin and I shot basketball for two hours yesterday, at the outdoor courts in Patterson Park. We played HORSE and had jump-shooting competitions. At the court next to us was a three-on-three game of Central American guys (all of whom are of remarkably similar height/build/general appearance. Those guys were all about five-foot-seven, stocky, with short hair, and dark skin). At the next court over, two tall black guys were shooting around, but their cheap rubber ball was half-deflated (or, you know, half-inflated). After a while, we heart these big, booming, metal-rebounding sounds, and we looked over and these two guys were dunking their flat ball. They were grabbing the ball by a big rubber fold and throwing it through the hoop, hanging on afterwards and making the hoop and backboard whang up with a boom when they let go.

It gets dark so early. But I've been enjoying the bike rides, and so I've outfitted myself with a pair of two-dollar gas station gloves and a three-dollar gray wool-type hat from Target. I will tuck the earphones up and under the hat and try to stay on the right-hand side of the roads. Last time I rode hatless when it was cold out, the rushing-by air made my ears and throat hurt. Somehow, it reminded me of the pain of a pumped-up soccer ball hitting you in the face or the bare thigh on a very cold day. Like, a below-freezing day. That sharp, piercing PANG pain that doubles you over if it's really bad. Kind of the wasabi-burn of short-lasting pain. Lots of sports balls on my mind today.

I've talked to very few people today.

A January trip to London, Norway, and Sweden is looking more and more likely. We've got friends in the first two places and a possibly rented cabin in the third. Friends in Norway say it's not so cold but that a beer costs the equivalent of twenty-three dollars, or something crazy like that. A January trip to cold parts of the world sounds sort of crazy, I think. When I tell people about this, I hear myself, and I think, that time of year and those places don't mix, when it comes to vacations. I really want to see the northern lights.

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