08 February, 2010

VO Closed Today

Due to the recent snowstorm most of our staff can't make it to work today. So VO is closed.

This was one of the heaviest snowfalls, some say the heaviest, on record in our little city. We'd previously had only 13 storms on record that deposited over a foot of snow, but we've had two this year. This one was over two feet and we were simply not prepared for it.

My own street hasn't yet been plowed and is impassible even for four wheel drive trucks, though it's fun to watch them try. Many of our downtown streets were built in the days of horse and buggy and are so narrow that they are hard to plow. The sidewalks outside of downtown have not been cleared at all so walking down the busiest road in town to reach VO is hazardous at best, riding would be suicidal. A couple of our staff are stuck in other cities due to canceled flights. And public transport is not running so Perry can't make it in from Baltimore. Tom, who lives in Washington DC, says his street has also not been plowed. What a mess! And there is a winter storm watch for Tuesday night with predictions of up to 20" more snow.

I am glad I live in the downtown area where we can walk to restaurants, shops, and pubs. Most of the business owners and staff live close by, so many places are open. With few cars and only locals about, our compact city center has a cozy and convivial feel. What a wonderful argument for building walkable and integrated neighborhoods. I think I'll answer e-mails from home then walk a few blocks, have a long lunch at one of our Irish pubs, and read Jack London over a second pint. Might as well make the best of it. For those of you stuck in un-plowed suburbia I would suggest Kunsler's Geography of Nowhere.

Anyone else snowbound? What are you reading?

29 comments:

Charles said...

Just finished "Cooking Dirty" by Jason Sheehan. Not because we're snowbound. A sunny, mid-40's day here in Atlanta.

Steve said...

Snowmageddon 2010 in Del Ray, Alexandria VA:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/97916047@N00/sets/72157623366158204/show/

johnson said...

Rode to the bike shop (that I help manage) this morning in Frederick. Paselas plus an inch of snow over 2 inches of ice = pretty sketchy.

Just mounted some studded tires, so hopefully the journey home will be a bit less sketchy.

Cheers!

Perry said...

Baltimore is still a mess, the light rail is still not going south of the city limits and the buses are all doing wacky modified routes. Here is a picture of our street

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2743/4335000327_df38afbf9c.jpg

hopefully see you tomorrow morning!

Theron said...

Kunstler's book is a worthwhile read, as I've gotten older and read more on the topic he's lost his prophetic voice. The population has double since WW2, there just aren't enough brown stones to go around. Nevertheless, a new building plan is needed. But that would require a lot of risks from people with money.

A book that pointed me towards a more serious discourse on land use and culture is: Understanding Ordinary Landscapes.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the book recommendation! That looks like a good one. I've never had a license. Hell, I barely know how to drive. I'm hoping to keep it that way for the rest of my life.

Ian Dickson said...

If you're snowed in, you might enjoy following the Yukon Quest here:

http://www.yukonquest.com/site/live-tracking/

Ironically, up here we have less snow than I've ever seen.

Adam said...

I apologize for tooting my own horn, but seeking an impressed sympathetic audience, Sunday morning I cycled 7 miles from midtown Baltimore to it's northeast suburbs to help someone dig out, on slick tires. I am an intrepid bad ass. Toot! Unfortunately, the hard pack I rode up on had turned to slush on the way home, so I had to walk the bike through 7 miles of slush. Brace yourselves, gentleman, we're getting 10+ more inches tomorrow night. Historic indeed.

Anonymous said...

I'm reading your blog.

Anonymous said...

Get one of these : http://blog.centurycycles.com/2010/01/surly-pugsley-perfect-snow-bike.html

they really work

Anonymous said...

Falls Church checking in here... stayed inside all weekend. Bikes are securely locked in garage, which is blocked by a snowbound pickup truck. Main highways are OK, secondary streets, not so much. If you don't have to go out... I vote "don't."

I just finished rereading "Norstrilia" by Cordwainer Smith (Paul Linebarger) and if you like old SF (I do) it's good stuff.

Not looking forward to the predicted additional snow tomorrow night. Hope you all are safe wherever you are.

Anonymous said...

My condolences.
Here in Toronto we are suffering from a snow drought. Good for biking though. I was out doing bike errands in the 15F morning.

Adam said...

They just changed the prediction. Up to 20 additional inches Tuesday and Wednesday for the Baltimore and Washington areas. The end is nigh. I hope you were taking notes when reading/watching The Road.

Justine Valinotti said...

I'm not snowbound and I'm reading student essays.

fridaycyclotouriste said...

Checking in from the San Francisco Bay Area. Yesterday: mild, mid-60s had to battle the sun's glare riding back from the farmer's market before enjoying the super bowl :)

Bill Gibson said...

This is prime riding time in Soutern Arizona, but I'm hard at work, and just finished David Byrnes "Bicycle Diaries", and tonight I'll read Christopher Marlowe's "Dr. Faustus".

An inexpensive ebook, for those in the know, is Mr. Kunstler's new play "The Big Slide", also, a reading is available on his podcast, for your snowmageddon pleasure.

Tom said...

friday: GRRRRRR......

My roommate and I ended up digging out an ambulance down the block, which broke our snow shovel! DC is little better than Annapolis in terms of snow removal preparedness.
the local hardware store had some kiddie show shovels; that and some neighborly assistance and borrowing/bartering helped us dig the car out. That still leaves 100 or so feet of side road to shovel by hand tomorrow.

Anyone have a plow or snow blower to borrow/barter?

In the mean time, I'm answering emails from dealers, talking to our suppliers in Taiwan, and working on logistics for NAHBS and the Taipei Bike Show.

and.......

I'm reading The Family by Jeff Sharlet, making a huge pot of vegan chili, stoking a fire with broken down pallets (Chris does not approve), inviting friends to share homebrews, and getting serenaded by my roommates playing RockBand. The pile of bikes to be repaired in my basement is awaiting a parts delivery via FedEx.

yankee_dollar said...

snowbound, via global warming? Where's Algore when you need 'im?

I'm waiting for VO to produce hammered fenders to fit the surly pugsley.

greenyuppie said...

Have been 'snowed in' here in Pallisades, Washington D.C., but actually see the bike as one of the few independent modes of transport given the suspended buses and trains. Through various stages of Deep snow, slush, single track (shoveled), and plowed wintry mix I have carefully handled with a (somewhat deflated in the front) road tire.

Reading "Three Bags Full" by Leonie Swann a murder mystery from the perspective of a flock of sheep. Fun!

Uncle Ankle said...

"The Fountainhead", but don't hold it against me.

If you like "Geography of Nowhere", you might enjoy "Hungry City" by Carolyn Steel. It tells a similar story, but about food rather than transportation. More upbeat, though.

RoadieRyan said...

In the "other" Washington its typical low 50s and wet winter in Seattle. Maybe the greater DC area can strike a deal with our Neighbors to the North who desperately need snow before the start of the Olympics- they are literally trucking and flying it (by Helicopter) in. Seems like it would be a good day for Calvin and Hobbes for the snow bound ;-) Stay Safe, and warm.

Marc said...

Ha,Ha. I'm in western Michigan, welcome to my world. We're getting another foot on top of the four we have had this year. I always keep a collection of poetry nearby while I wait for the streets to be plowed. Currently working through an anthology of 20th century american poets called "The Voice that is great within us." Just read Sandburg's "Sins of Kalamazoo."

Steve said...

Flickr group pool for photos of the Feb 6 storm in DC/MD/VA:
http://www.flickr.com/groups/dcmetrosnow0210/pool/show/

Tom said...

Calvin and Hobbes inspired grisley snow death scenes are on the agenda today. After the trip to the decimated grocery and hardware stores.

Anonymous said...

I'm a little sad that I've had to work the past couple days. Apparently everyone in my neighborhood has been inviting each other over for lunch etc. and being more social than ever now that most people are staying home all day.

Maybe someone will finish shoveling my driveway for me before I get home from work...

rob hawks said...

Chris,

You may have long standing ties to Amazon, hence your using them for links to recommended books, but be aware that one of your longest standing customers works for Alibris, http://www.alibris.com which is where I bought my (used) copy of the Kunstler book you recommend. (And if you were recommending Kunstler, why not also suggest 'A world made by hand', to be read by candle light if the power goes out.)

BTW, Alibris is a very supportive employer for this bike commuter.

Eric said...

I am listening to the free podcast from Kunstler featuring his latest fiction play as read by actor's. It can be found here:
http://kunstlercast.com/

Chris Kulczycki said...

I'm a fan of Alibris and have bought a number of books on the site. I also buy from Powell's on occasion. But Amazon is so darn convenient.

Mister Negative said...

"suicidal"

Feh. Snow is fun.

I didn't peg you as a hyperbolic columnist.

Enjoy the new snowfall, I'll be digging out twice.