Monthly Archives: September 2009

Baltimore Book Festival

This past weekend was the 14 th annual Baltimore Book Festival, and I am a writer by trade so it would seem a perfect fit for my time. Unfortunately, I was sick most of last week so browsing for books was the last thing on my itinerary, but one does what one must. Besides, it gave me an excuse to get out of the apartment for a few hours.

 

I left the apartment around 11:45am, and made my way towards the festival. Charles St was closed off so I detoured around Madison St where I stopped at the ATM before heading in through the eastern end of Mt Vernon park.

 

The festival itself wasn’t all that big: a few food stands on the north side of the park, a few book tents near the middle, an authors’ tent at the bottom of the hill, and several smaller stands surrounding the monument. There was also a large children’s area along the western flank of the park, and various tours for art, architecture and literature (this was a book festival after all).

 

It was 1pm, and having seen all four blocks of the festival, I decided to join the “Literary Mount Vernon” tour forming outside the Peabody Library.

 

There were about 20 or so other people waiting for the tour when I arrived including: our guide, Jo Williams of the Maryland Humanities Council; her assistant (whose name I never caught) and a tall thin man in 19 th century attire (later identified as a “Mr. Poe”).

 

Our first stop was inside the library where Ms. Williams regaled us with stories about George Peabody, F. Scott Fitzgerald (who lived in Bolton Hill) and John Dos Passos. We then left the library and traveled past the old Stafford Hotel and then east towards Emmanuel Episcopal Church where she spoke of the church’s poetry reading, the Baltimore School of the Arts and H.L Mencken (whose house is now part of BSA).

 

But as our guide was talking a car drove by and the passenger shouted: “We love Bal-Tay-More!”

 

“Well, at least, they are saying nice things about their city,” Mr. Poe said.

 

Next, we headed west and north to the Belvedere Hotel (now condominiums) to hear about Henry James stay there in 1906 that became part of The American Scene, and a brief tour of the adjoining Owl Bar which resulted in us being chased outside by a server shouting about lunch specials and happy hour. 

 

A block away was the house where Emily Post was born and further down the street was the home of Gertrude Stein. The latter being where the “abbreviated” tour ended (at 2:30pm), and thus I made my way back towards the festival for a final walkthrough before going home.

 

Categories: attractions, Baltimore, festivals | Leave a comment

Red Run Runaround

As I’ve said before, there is a reason this blog is titled “The Adventures of Twiggar” and that is: no matter how much research and planning I do things always seem to go awry. Yesterday was no exception.

Last Friday, I sent out a bunch of resumes on Hotjobs. On Monday, I received my first callback for a job in another state (though the ad specifically listed Baltimore , Md. as one of its branch locations), but the point of this post is the call I received on Wednesday for an interview on Thursday (somewhat short notice).

I ask the woman on the phone exactly where her office was and she told me Owings Mills. Is it near the Metro station, yes, just a 5 minute bus ride “on the opposite side of the mall.”

After she hangs up I start doing my due diligence in preparation for the interview: company profile, map of area, BBB accreditation and so on. After two hours of searching, all I found was a map.

I woke up around 9am yesterday morning so I could print off a new batch of reference sheets (required for the interview), but my printer was not cooperating (putting me at least an hour behind schedule).

I arrived at State Center Metro station at 12:36pm. I buy a day pass using all the money I had on me (two dollars and six quarters), take the escalator downstairs and waited approximately ten minutes for the train to arrive. I found a seat near the back of the crowded subway car and spent the next 20 minutes going over what little I knew about the company and the job I was interviewing for (what isInside Sales” anyway?).

I arrived at Owings Mills station around 1:06pm, and then quickly realized that I had no idea which bus I was supposed to get onto. Besides, I wasn’t about to risk what could be the biggest interview of my life on something as unreliable as a public bus schedule so I took the long way around Painters Mill Rd and onto Red Run Rd past the entrance to the mall.

There are no sidewalks along Red Run Rd which means I’m either dodging errant cars or killing my feet on the uneven terrain (remember, I’m dressed for an interview). I then have to cross Owings Mills Blvd , a major feeder road for 795, just to have Red Run become Red Mills Rd and veer off in the opposite direction of where I’m trying to go.

It’s 1:45pm, and I was watching civilization disappear in front of me. I stop at the last building I could see, a large trailer with the word “INFORMATION” hanging from the side of it.

I go inside, and a woman came out of one of the offices to greet me. I asked her where 300 Red Brook Blvd was and she leads me over to a map of the apartment community under construction behind us. She studies it for a moment and tells me that there apparently is no “ Red Brook Blvd ” in their community.

The folks at the nearby Rite Aid aren’t much help either treating me like a human ping-pong ball bouncing me from one side of the store to the other looking for someone who might be able to help me.

Finally a young woman gave me some rather complicated directions that ultimately lead me to the corporate park on the north side of the mall, and the security guard there sent me to the “other office park” all the way back on Painters Mill Rd.

It was 3:30pm by the time I got back to the sprawling corporate park on Painters Mill Road . It wasn’t in there either. I was now over an hour and a half late for this interview but only a 10 minute walk back to the metro station.

Categories: adventures, Baltimore, job hunting, metro subway | Leave a comment

Midnight train to Florida

Sometimes I think about moving back to Florida , and a flood of recently published articles claims that I’d be bucking a major trend. Both TIME and USA Today have reported that the Sunshine State had a net lose of 58,000 residents in 2008 mainly due to higher taxes and inept public officials.

 

TIME also asks if Florida is prepared for the next “Big One” (or “Pretty Big One” for that matter). Their answer isn’t all that surprising considering the number of average people who wait until the day before the storm hits to buy supplies. Why should the state (under) funded insurance program be any different?

 

Than I come across news that Miami-Dade is FINALLY getting around to building the MIC-Earlington Heights connector (half of it anyway), and things suddenly look brighter. But than again, this is MDT we’re talking about so give it a week and the whole place will turn to crap.

 

 In fact, the only real bright spot that I can think of at the moment is that UM is a top tier school in the US News rankings and the Princeton Review “Top Schools” (I’ve already discusses the school’s position in the so-called “Forbes rankings”).

Categories: ramblings, South Florida, weather | Leave a comment

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