A speaking engagement on my birthday was accepted with misgivings, but the University Club treated me right: with a treat, namely, a cake. That kicks off Friday’s column. Under an equal-time statute, an item is given to the Claremont Pie Festival. Then there’s a Culture Corner and a Valley Vignette about an Upland figure.
Above, club member Anne Sonner, who baked the cake, poses with me after Al McCombs of the Chino Champion, another club member, found the cake’s headline free of typographical errors, if perhaps not free of hyperbole. Below, details of the award remain maddeningly vague.
Today’s my birthday: I entered this world 53 years ago today. Last December, walking past a tavern in Pasadena, I saw this motto, figured it worked for me as well and took a selfie.
Photo by Allison Evans
Last Wednesday evening I spoke at the Carnegie Building in Upland for what turned out to be one of my most successful events ever. There were 36 in the audience, according to one friend who counted. After speaking and reading for maybe 20 minutes, I took questions. And questions, and questions. Interesting, amusing, thoughtful questions, for a little more than an hour.
Usually, say at a service club talk, there’s only 20 or 30 minutes for questions, so to have a relatively open-ended discussion was rare. But even at that, no audience has ever had this many questions. There might have been a couple more if the librarian hadn’t wanted to wrap up. Because people seemed so interested, my answers tended to be full and reflective as I talked about books, writing, my journey to Ontario, council meetings and more.
One friend said afterward, “I’ve never seen an audience so engaged.” Thanks to everyone who turned out — including three Upland council members — for being there and being, sincerely, such a great audience. It was lucrative too: I sold 16 books.
Photo by Ann Lara
Friday marks 20 years for yours truly at the Daily Bulletin (huzzah!), and my column is about the milestone. Rather than reflect on two decades, I did something I’ve considered doing for a slow day for years: I compiled a FAQ about me and my job. Hope you find it of interest, and thanks for reading me for whatever portion of my 20 years you’ve followed by work. Even if it’s just since, say, Wednesday, it’s appreciated.
First my internet stopped working. Then my attempts to upgrade my service dragged on for weeks, with multiple phone calls and multiple service visits. I recount the frustration, and humor, of the situation in Sunday’s column.
Checking Twitter this morning, I had a notification from a man in the Netherlands thanking me for participating in a whiskey tasting, where, as the photo above shows, I was “special guest.” (But of course.)
Evidently Frans Muthert looked for that David Allen on Twitter to get his handle to include in the tweet and didn’t notice he’d found a different, transcontinental fellow. As the guest’s apparent employer, Springbank Whisky (“The official Twitter account of Scotland’s oldest family owned distillery”) replied, “I don’t think ‘our’ David is on Twitter.”
He should sign up. Everyone’s talking about him!
The Claremont Courier’s crossword puzzle of Feb. 3 was brought to my attention by the Courier’s editor due to the clue for 17 Across: “Longtime Claremont writer for the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.” My name is the answer to a crossword puzzle? I’ve finally made it!
I doubt I’ve ever successfully worked a crossword to the end, but at least this time there’s one sure answer, and I felt comfortable filling it in in ink. (On a photocopy of the puzzle. The original must be kept minty-fresh.) How many Courier readers were stumped, I wonder?
Click on the image above if you’d like to try to work the puzzle yourself.
My usual practice, as you may recall, is to not only avoid the Super Bowl but to get out and about during the game. Due to the chilly weather and press of things to do, inspiration was lacking, and my early thought of training in to LA was dropped.
But after a quiet hour at home tackling some paperwork clutter, a long-overdue and satisfying task, I ventured to Montclair to make a run to Target, which was relatively unpopulated, and then to Barnes and Noble, which seemed to have a normal amount of customers, although by that point the game may have been over, or ending. I’ll have to plan better next year.
If you skipped the (yawn) big game, what did you do?
I’m off this week, but I’m not traveling. In fact, I’m mostly around town, relaxing, reading, watching movies, organizing the house and, I hope, planning a real vacation. I’ll be back at my desk Feb. 6 and back in your newspaper Feb. 8.
I have a new book, collecting select columns from 1997 to 2000. Title: “Getting Started.” I write about it, and list upcoming events about it, in Sunday’s slightly self-promotional column.