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Norman Sperling
2625 Alcatraz Avenue #235
Berkeley, CA 94705-2702

cellphone 650 - 200 - 9211
eMail normsperling [at] gmail.com

Crash and Recovery

Norman Sperling, May 5, 2013

On April 19th, driving north through Virginia, I swerved a little to avoid an obstacle. My trailer, which had been swaying annoyingly the whole trip, swayed out of control and dragged me across 4 lanes of traffic, where the SUV sideswiped a pickup truck. SUV and trailer both ended up on their sides. NOBODY WAS HURT! Seatbelts and airbags DO work. Use them.

But both my SUV and my trailer were declared total losses. I spent 2 weeks coping with the attendant hassles, including replacing the camper. This time I chose a much more compact “Class C” RV. Thanks to insurance, I’ll end up nearly cash-neutral.

I have resumed my trek. I’m writing this from Indiana.

Heroes:

More than a dozen people of Fredericksburg, caught behind my wreck, instantly jumped out of their cars and ran to help me and the guy I sideswiped. There was a nurse and a medic. A forest of hands helped me climb out of the side window.

My brother, Barry, picked me up and set me back on my feet. He accomplished a lot that would have taken ever so much longer without him. He’s JIR’s mathematics editor, and I sure counted on him.

AAA insurance: fully competent and understanding. A bit slow, 3,000 miles outside their range, but highly effective.

Stick It on a Ridge

© Norman Sperling, April 13, 2013

In lots of places, traffic has a view of a ridge. That’s a fabulous place to stick something with an interesting silhouette. Antique farm equipment looks neat. Try a scarecrow. A sculpture. A cairn. A saguaro. A dramatic tree. Anything that a passing driver can take in with a quick glance – not distracting them for dangerously long.

Seating Should Face the Action

© Norman Sperling, March 22, 2013

Why must seats face orthogonal to the rail instead of the center of attention? Seated down the right field line once, I faced the center field wall. I turned very sharply left to see the diamond. I had an aisle seat so I could stretch my legs in that direction but nobody else around could.

In theaters, I've faced corners of the stage instead of the center.

For concerts, it's not so bad. The angle at which the sound reaches my ears is not a problem.

But facing action is. To watch a performance, seats should face center stage. To watch a baseball game, seats should face the diamond. Football, basketball, soccer, and hockey are different because they range all up and down their field, though they'd probably best face the center. This is another reason that multipurpose stadia aren't a good idea.

Other than swivel seats, has this problem ever been fixed? The tilt of the stands might be very different to face the diamond but I doubt that it would pose construction problems. Spectators would have to turn to watch a homer or a deep fly ball, but the seating structure should allow it to be seen.

The First Step

© Norman Sperling, March 19, 2013

After being on the road for 10 days, 4 states, and 3 time zones, I have finally located enough computer parts to make this system work.

I took way, way too long to organize and stow my stuff. I now feel much more clearly that “having” something necessitates “minding” it, and I’ve skimped way too much on that for the last half century. I’ll need some years to straighten all my stuff out, and I intend to.

I finally got away by tossing lots of cartons and bags into the trailer. I’m sorting it out so I’m more functional every day.

Trailer life can work just fine. It takes different procedures than minding a house, perhaps fewer, but I’m a novice at most. I’m still on the uncomfortably steep part of the learning curves for my new way of life and assorted equipment. But now I know it works in practice, it’s not just an idea that I’ve been fostering for 4 years.

RV people are extremely nice. Usually relaxed, highly helpful, and used to novices like me.

RV parks vary enormously in quality and facilities. The ones I’ve seen so far close around 6 or 7 PM. So my old check-into-a-hotel-late habit won’t work. I’ve got to comb the enormous directory pretty early, phone the most likely ones, and arrive when I can check in and set up. It’s do-able, but calls for a different mindset.

Today: Midland, Texas. Saturday: Houston.

The Journal of Irreproducible Results
This Book Warps Space and Time
What Your Astronomy Textbook Won't Tell You

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