We begin with an interview

Posted: September 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

After a week – or longer than a week, really – of pondering how to begin my blog, Mass By Volume, I sit here on this rainy Friday afternoon with my son fast asleep, and now, I begin.

But before I begin, let me tell you how I’m going to do this. Before, I had planned to write blog entries the same way I wrote them always; paragraph by paragraph by paragraph, entry by entry by entry, and so on. However, this gets boring very quickly. A lot of people have blogs, and a lot of people ramble on in their blogs about various topics. Many are interesting, many are not. I will not be the judge though.

This time, however, I will take on a different format. An interview format. But not real interviews. Not in the sense that you sit down, put on a microphone, have special guests under hot TV lights, and the “five… four… three…” countdown before we are live, gentlemen. No, I don’t have that kind of budget allowance. What I do have in my budget is my imagination, which as many who know me know, holds no boundaries. In fact, my imagination has the tendency to run off like a little child into the street, blissfully (and recklessly) unaware of the dangers that lie in wait.

Thanks to my imagination, I can create an interviewer and an interviewee in my head, and go forward with an interview on all things Massachusetts. This idea finds its roots in a Harpers magazine article I read many, many moons ago when I was on the plane to Kiev, Ukraine, in September 2001. It was written by a homeless guy who, one night, decided to interview himself, transcribe the interview, and eventually got it published. I thought that was kind of brilliant, so I decided to do that myself.

I then went ahead and presented updates on my life in Kiev via this interview format, and it was a tremendous success. You can check it out here.

You get the idea. We have Kiefer as the interviewer, and Keith (myself) as the interviewee. Any questions anyone has should be emailed or Facebooked to me, and I shall attempt to incorporate said questions into future blog postings.

Let’s begin.

KIEFER: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to our blog, Mass By Volume. We have here the writer of the blog, and he’ll be answering our questions for us and telling us all about Massachusetts. All the interesting things and, hopefully, none of the non-interesting things. Right, Keith?

KEITH: That’s right.

KIEFER: Let’s begin. No bullshit here. First on everyone’s minds: Why call this blog “Mass By Volume”?

KEITH: I figured, this is a blog about Massachusetts. And I’m going to be here for a long time – maybe a few years. And so, that creates volumes of experience. And my wife came up with the idea that mass is density multiplied by volume. And one thing led to another, and presto, Mass By Volume.

KIEFER: Clever.

KEITH: I thought so, too.

KIEFER: So, what’s going on there right now? Where exactly are you in Massachusetts?

KEITH: Well, it’s late September. We’ve had pretty good weather in the two weeks we’ve been here. Except today. It’s been pretty wet all day today. Absolutely rubbish weather.

KIEFER: Not unlike where you lived before.

KEITH (sighing): That’s right.

KIEFER: OK, so where are you exactly?

KEITH: A place called Woburn. It’s about 20 minutes north of Boston on the highway. Maybe a $50-$60 cab ride from Logan Airport.

KIEFER: Middle of nowhere, then?

KEITH: No! Not at all. Woburn is just one of the many communities surrounding Boston. In fact, it’s basically considered part of the greater Boston metropolis. There are communities everywhere here, five minutes apart by car, linked not by highways but rather, roads. These communities are old.

KIEFER: How old?

KEITH: Well, Woburn goes back to 1640.

KIEFER: That’s old, all right.

KEITH: And the other communities surrounding Woburn are kind of like that too. They all have charming town centres built out of red brick, and when you go out of the town centre, you’ll find all kinds of older houses built in the 1800s. Some in the 1700s.

KIEFER: None from 1640?

KEITH: No, those wouldn’t last that long. Oldest house in these parts is the Baldwin House, just a minute’s walk from the hotel where I am now. It dates back to 1790. Lots of history in that house. But now… it’s a Chinese restaurant.

KIEFER: You don’t say.

KEITH: Yup. I’ll save the whole Baldwin story for another interview, though. Good stories out of that house and involving the Baldwins in Woburn.

KIEFER: OK, let’s just wrap this one up quickly as I know you have other things to do.

(checking list)

Let’s see here. Woburn, check. Old, check. Boston… Ah. What about Boston? What is it like?

KEITH: I’ve not been there yet. Not this time around anyway.

KIEFER: You’ve been here for two weeks and no trip to Beantown?

KEITH: Careful, Kiefer. You don’t call it Beantown. The locals apparently don’t call it Beantown. That’s just what I’ve read. But I’ll tell you this: We’re likely going to Bean, uh, Boston tomorrow. So let’s get back to Boston later.

KIEFER: OK, I see some good interviews coming up. Something about Baldwin, you say, and about an imminent visit to Boston. Let’s wrap this one up now, shall we?

KEITH: We shall.

KIEFER: OK, ladies and gentlemen. Questions, concerns, whatever y’all may have for our Keith, please fire them his way either via Zuckerberg’s evil creation, or via old-fashioned e-mail, or even in comments in this post. Sounds good?

KEITH: That sounds good to me. Let’s call it a wrap.


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