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Dullness [Oct. 22nd, 2019|01:13 am]
After Saturday/Sunday's very weird sleep schedule I managed to get a few hours more sleep Monday morning, and woke up around eleven o'clock. Nothing much happened all day. I had planned to go check the Goodwill store for books late afternoon but lacked the energy. In any case I'd bought three Sunday afternoon, and Tuesday is senior discount day so I decided to put it off for a day.

The three I bought Sunday included two big illustration-heavy paperbacks, Smithsonian's maritime history book Ship, and a slightly smaller volume called The World of King Arthur, which has a lot of medieval stuff, of course. I also got a copy of a college text, The Heath Introduction to Drama, a hefty tome with 18 plays, running from Oedipus Rex to August Wilson's 1985 drama Fences. Several of them are plays I lost copies of in the fire, plus there's a small reproduction of Edward Hopper's painting New York Movie on the cover.

As I had lots of stuff in the larder I made a decent-sized dinner tonight, finishing off the last of the corn and the asparagus, and making a small dent in my surplus of potatoes, all to accompany a bit of ham. Later this week more of the ham will go into a pot of beans, which should be good for at least two meals. But I really need to start using some of the stuff I have in the freezer before I go shopping again. It is stuffed to the door, and I can barely get the ice cube tray out when I need it.

We are heading into another hot spell, though it isn't supposed to get any higher than 88, and the nights will continue to be cool. I might need the air conditioner a couple of times, but probably not for long. Worse news is that it's about to get windy again, and PG&E is planning more outages to reduce the risk of fires. Since I didn't get cut off last time I probably won't this time either, but I'll try to remember to keep the phone charged just in case. Of course there is no rain in sight. There aren't even any clouds in the forecast until a week from Friday, when it will still be mostly sunny. I could hardly wait for hellish summer to be over, now I can hardly wait for this arid fall to turn wet. No more wildfires, please. I don't think I could even stand the smell of one.
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Sunday vs Memory [Oct. 21st, 2019|03:29 am]
I have slept for several hours, passing midnight, waking just in time to plug in the phone that had almost lost power and gone dead. It chimed at me as I plugged it in, but it had nothing else to tell me. Sometimes the absence of messages is distressing, but tonight I'm glad there is no news to deal with. I'm groggy and muddled, and go outside to sit and inhale the chilly air of October.

Now and then a clang of metal hitting asphalt, or a single shout escapes the nocturnal distance. The carnival is being dismantled. It's about the same distance as the freeway, but more east rather than southwest. The freeway is mostly quiet this time of night, so the sound of rides and booths being taken down can be more easily heard. It is Monday morning, dawn is yet a few hours away.

For years I spent nights wandering quiet streets, so I'm familiar with the way sound carries at this time, and of the crispness of the night air in fall. Dismantling carnival rides is the sort of job I might have done had I been more agile and mechanically adept. Now it's a past that never happened.

The past that did happen is vague now, as mysterious as those that didn't, as unintelligible as the called words I can't make out from the disassemblers of the carnival. The past's incinerated words haunt me with their absence. They are like sounds that the night air carries but that carry no meaning. Obscurity prevails. For a moment the mockingbird wakes and sends me a few brief songs, then returns to silence. In the morning the carnival will be gone, the cracked, grey parking lot as empty as my memory. I will still have no idea what the mockingbird's songs meant.

Sunday VerseCollapse )
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Saturday [Oct. 20th, 2019|12:31 am]
Last night I slept a bit better, and woke at a reasonable hour (a few minutes short of noon) and had a reasonably normal day. A visit to the Goodwill store brought me a copy of Edith Hamilton's Mythology, which was the first book about Greek myths I ever read, acquired from the Alhambra Public Library when I was about twelve or thirteen. It is not a book greatly admired by scholars, and before the fire I had both Hamilton's book and the more respectable one compiled by Robert Graves, But I'm glad to have this copy, well-used though it is.

I also bought a mystery novel, Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz. I wasn't going to get it, but read the cover blurb which said that Horowitz was the creator of two BBC series that I liked, Midsomer Murders and Foyle's War, so that convinced me to give it a try. It's unlikely that I'll get around to reading it anytime soon, since I've now got so many other books to read. I should probably ease up on the book buying, but I probably won't.

I stopped at one of the dollar stores to pic up some dish washing liquid, and hoped to get some Chinese almond cookies a well, but they had none of the cookies. There wasn't even a vacant place on the shelf where they used to be, so perhaps they aren't going to stock them anymore. That would be unfortunate. A ritzier version of the almond cookies made by the same company is available at the regular supermarkets, but at a considerably higher price, so I'm unlikely to indulge in them very often.

Returning home from the stores I passed through the carnival again, and though a couple more food trucks showed up today I still decided not to buy anything, They don't seem to have any provision for takeout orders, providing no packaging whatsoever, so I would have to eat their wares at the carnival, amid the odor of diesel exhaust from the generators. Plus if I wanted beer (which I would) I'd have to pay way too much for it. So I came home and made sandwiches, and had two bottles of good beer for about what one glass of crappy beer would have cost me there. Still,if they had had real carnival music (a barrel organ, a calliope, even some digital equivalent,) I might have eaten there anyway, but that common pop crap over the loudspeakers makes me so sad for the lost world of old school carnivals that I just wanted to get out of there.

While the mockingbird is once again providing concerts daily near my back yard, I find that I really miss the crickets once night falls. The quiet, broken only by the occasional truck passing on the freeway or a train on the other side of town, fills me with melancholy, and not the sadly enjoyable kind. I'd just as soon stay in the apartment and read, and forget for a while the dull life I have now.
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So [Oct. 19th, 2019|01:35 am]
Oh, after midnight already. How time flies when your disintegrating brain is wandering off on its own. And the day (Friday) started so wellish. I think I actually got enough sleep, and still woke up at a reasonable hour, and then got through the various things I needed to do, and then took the bus to a bus-accessible store, and remembered to buy all the things I'd intended to buy, and then got back to the bus stop in time to get the first bus home, which was only a little bit late, and then I still had energy to walk over to Grocery Outlet a bit later and get the donuts I was out of, plus some frozen stuff that might or might not be very good but was at least very cheap. I would call that a good day in fact, for these days.

After that it began going a bit off the rails. I had planned on going out a third time, to check the books at the Goodwill store, and to pick up a couple of items at one of the dollar stores, and then maybe check the sadly clean carnival again to see if they had more food trucks today. But the latter hope had been dashed when I passed by the carnival on the way to and from Grocery Outlet and saw that there was actually one less food truck there today than there had been the day before. I still could have gone to Goodwill and the dollar store, but found that my energy was flagging, so I ended up not going.

About seven o'clock I had a phone call to make, and as my feet were a bit sore I called from the bed where I could put my feet up, and when the call was satisfactorily completed I leaned back against the pillows and, despite having had enough sleep the previous might, fell asleep and didn't wake up until after ten o'clock. That put me off the rails completely. I've been trying to catch up ever since, but I doubt I ever will. I keep getting distracted.

So, Saturday. I have no idea what I'm going to do. Probably just think a lot of weird stuff and look at Internets, then go get the stuff from the dollar store I didn't get today, then come back here and think more weird stuff and look at more Internets. Turns out life is mostly stuff-related. And I'm still groggy from the unintentional nap. So it goes.

Finishing this, and hour and a half later. Gad!
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Carne Vale [Oct. 18th, 2019|12:34 am]
A couple of the things I'd intended to get at Safeway today just weren't there. Either they'd sold out of them, or the web site listed stuff that wasn't actually on sale. But I got the rest of the stuff on my list, which wasn't very much, and now I'm thinking I might take the bus to one of the other stores tomorrow, to get substitutes or the stuff Safeway didn't provide. I'll have to see what time I wake up, and how I feel, and whether or not I can get my act together in time to make the right bus.

After I got home I went to the Goodwill store and found something I've been hoping to get: a single-volume paperback edition of Tolkein's The Lord Of the Rings trilogy. It's a book I first read going on fifty yeas ago, and though I'm not one of those who consider it a masterpiece of literature, it is something I enjoy rereading now and then. It has always amazed me that an old Oxford don would create such a strange and fanciful world, even if he was a philologist. The store has had quite a few copies of individual books of the trilogy, but once I found out that there was a single-volume version my bargain hunter instincts kicked in, and I have finally been rewarded.

I then went to CVS to get a six pack of beer, and on the way home I walked through the carnival, which opened this afternoon. I was a bit disappointed with it. There ferris wheel is impressive, and there is another ride that will probably appeal to older kids— it looks rather like one of those European elevators that runs continuously like a vertical conveyor belt made a deal with the devil and converted itself into a bunch of cages that swing freely as the whole conveyor apparatus from which they are hung turns like the ferris wheel. Probably great fun to ride if you are twelve or so.

But the other rides are mostly kiddie rides, and rather dull looking ones at that. The handful of midway game booths are way to slick and tidy looking. Carnivals should have a rakishness about them, but this one is about as rakish as a Walmart. The carnies were a disappointment, too. I didn't see a single piercing or a snake tattoo in the lot of them. In fact most of them were wearing long sleeves, and it was seventy degrees out. I decided to pretend that it was because they were heroin addicts and they all had tracks they had to keep covered up, and that their piercings were all Prince Alberts, or nipple rings, and their concealed tattoos were obscene. I couldn't tell if they had dental issues or not, since none of them smiled, though one of them did yawn as I was passing, and he could have modeled for a toothpaste ad.

I had intended to see if there was something I could buy for dinner there, but There were only two food trucks, neither of which interested me, and one tidy coach with the carnival company's own food in it, and I didn't want a seven dollar hot dog and four dollar French fries, so I just made something for myself at home. There wasn't any real carnival music, either, just the usual pop songs played over loudspeakers, and I could have listened to pretty much the same thing at the Goodwill store. And instead of the fragrance of cotton candy and popcorn and roasted peanuts wafting over the scene all I could smell was the diesel exhaust from the generators powering the rides. I though about sticking around until dark and getting a bit of video of the lights with my phone, since the lights are pretty impressive, but decided I should get home and eat something.

So, it turns out you can't go back to the carnivals of childhood again. The carnival has been suburbanized. The only improvement I could see was they were selling beer at one booth of to the side, but I have plenty of cheap beer at home, so paying five or six times as much for a paper cup of it is not my idea of fun. Maybe I'm just too old. The kids I heard screaming on the one fairly impressive ride seemed to be having a good time. I'd rather sit in my back yard with a can of Tecate, and listen to the screams from a distance. Or go indoors and listen to this:

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Drippy [Oct. 17th, 2019|12:51 am]
A tapping sound came from the hood of the range and the vent over the gas fireplace I never use, so I looked outside and sure enough it is sprinkling. I noticed that it was getting a bit overcast late this afternoon, but I didn't expect rain so this is a pleasant surprise. In about half an hour I'll have to go out to the laundry room to fetch the white pieces out of the dryer, but I doubt I'll get soaked even if the sprinkles continue that long.

The laundry is still in the dryer this late because I forgot to do it this afternoon. I didn't go anywhere today, so there was really no excuse for not getting it done, other than that I am senile and just plain forgot. I didn't remember it had to be done until I went to take a shower and discovered that I had no clean towels. So I started the first load ate nine o'clock, and it's going to be after midnight before I get my shower, since I didn't do the towels first. More forgetfulness. My memory is very, very short these days.

Tomorrow is still supposed to be Safeway day, and after that I intend to visit the carnival, and maybe get something for dinner there, since a lot of local food trucks that don't usually make it to this part of town are expected to be there. It will be a good chance to sample some of Chico's roach coaches. And who knows, maybe I'll run away and join the carnival. There's really nothing to keep me here but a flabbergasting amount of inertia and decrepitude. I don't think they have freak shows anymore, or I'd be a shoo-in as the beer-bellied Skeleton Man.

Dinner was a serving of the leftover lasagna, plus garlic toast, asparagus, and an avocado. The avocados I bought last week are so good I wish I'd bought more. There's only one left, and they aren't on sale this week. The last one was the farthest from ripe when I bought it, and I'm hoping it will last until Friday, so I can have it with the rest of the lasagna. Sadly, it's another week of mediocre sales at the supermarkets. That's not too unusual this time of year. They save their best deals for the big holidays, starting with Thanksgiving. It's a good thing I've got plenty of stuff squirreled away in the larder. But I'll probably have to pay full price for orange juice this week, unless Grocery Outlet gets some in.

Stuff should be ready to come out of the dryer now (I've been writing very slowly,) and it sounds like it has stopped raining. It was nice while it lasted.
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Less Than Meets the Eye [Oct. 16th, 2019|01:33 am]
Although I woke up too early again today, after about an hour I was able to get back to sleep, and though it wasn't very good sleep there was enough of it. I finally got up around noon, and made it through the afternoon with minimal distress. I listened to my mockingbird and watched my lizard run around, and then I went to Trader Joe's to get milk. Naturally I had to stop at the Goodwill store where, sadly, I found more books I'm unable to live without.

One of them is a book that was there during the half price sale, but which I was unable to find when I looked or it and so assumed it had been sold. I just didn't look hard enough, I guess, because there it was today in plain sight. It is a memoir called A Cornish Childhood, by A. L. Rowse. One of the books that burned was my copy of his quite famous biography of Shakespeare, which I had for over fifty years. It had been decades since I'd read it, and it was one or the books I hoped to re-read one day, having in the intervening years absorbed a great deal more Shakespeare than I had at the time I first read it. I expect that a copy of that biography will turn up at the Goodwill store eventually, as it has been so widely circulated. In the meantime, his autobiographical memoir looks interesting.

I also picked up a paperback featuring all twelve of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple short stories. I do like the anthologies. And then I picked up a downright pristine copy of Frances Mayes' Under the Tuscan Sun, which is one of the books I lost in the fire. The copy I bought today looks like it was never opened, so is in better condition than the one that burned. I don't know if the Mayes and the Christie were on the shelf during the half price sale, but if they were I overlooked them, as I certainly would have bought them then had I seen them.

When I rounded the corner of the building on my way to Trader Joe's, I saw an interesting sight. Carnival rides and booths were being set up in the corner parking lot that nobody ever uses except in spring and summer when they operate the weekly Farmer's Market there. Everything was lit up, but there was no crowd and I heard no music, so I figured it wasn't open yet. When I got home I looked it up on the Internet, and it turns out to be a fundraiser for Wags and Whiskers, a local pet rescue group. It will be running from four to ten PM Thursday and Friday, and from noon to ten PM Saturday and Sunday. Since it's raising funds for the dogs and cats I think I'll just have to go, though I won't be going on any of the rides.

The sight of the carnival induced a fit of nostalgia for the carnivals the local Chamber of Commerce held at my intermediate school when I was a kid. The rides then were nowhere near as large as the ones I see in the parking lot at the Plaza, and their incandescent and neon lights were quite dim by comparison with the LEDs and fiber optics adorning the machines they have now, but I always enjoyed going to them. I especially enjoyed watching the people. They had some pretty scary carnies working in those days, with wild hair and lots of tattoos, but I doubt that today's carnies will stand out from the crowd of ordinary visitors. Half the guys I see shopping at the supermarkets anymore look like 1950s carnies. But we shall see. I'll probably drop in on Thursday after I get back from Safeway. Maybe I'll play a midway game or two, and maybe win a Chinese finger trap. I got dozens of those when I was a kid.

There are no special plans for tomorrow, so it will probably be pretty much a rerun of today. Most days these days are reruns. It's a good thing I enjoy watching lizards and listening to mockingbirds, because that's about all my waking life consists of now, aside from Internets. What my dreams are like I usually can't say, since I seldom remember them, though last night I did have one in which I watched an alien flying machine circling above the place I was trying to hide, since I knew it wanted to kill me. If that's the sort of thing they are about I think it's a good thing I don't remember them. I hope I don't have it again tonight.
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Book Day [Oct. 15th, 2019|01:06 am]
This waking up after five or six hours and not being able to get back to sleep is getting old fast. I have been awake since before nine o'clock this morning, and I've taken no nap even though I've nodded off in my chair a few times, and I will probably pass out pretty soon, but that's going to make tomorrow a real problem should I be able to sleep only five or six hours again. Not a morning person. At all.

On the other hand I might not be able to get to sleep tonight at all, if I'm overtired. That could be even worse. It would be nice if I could stay awake until about two o'clock and then sleep eight hours, but that seems unlikely to happen. I do have to go get some milk at Trader Joe's tomorrow, And crossing the busy road to get there (and get back) is less hazardous if I'm well rested.

Still, I did manage to cross it today, and get back, when I went to the Goodwill store for their half price sale. I bought nine books, for eleven dollars, which is not too bad. There are two good sized, well illustrated paperbacks about ancient Greece, one focused on art and the other on history an culture, plus a paperback of Thucydides The Peloponnesian War. Then I got a hardback of one of P. D. James' Dalgliesh mysteries, The Private Patient, and an adult novel by J. K. Rowling, The Casual Vacancy. I replaced my lost copy of Steinbeck's East of Eden, and a memoir that looks quite interesting, being about author Peter Hessler's two years in a town on the Yangtze River in China in the 1990s, titled appropriately enough River Town.

I also picked up a copy of the third edition of William H. Phillips' college level text Film: An Introduction, which I recall hearing about but never owned. It has some very positive reviews on various web sites. The last book is quite unusual, being a slick hardback published in 2003 by a ritzy California residential architectural firm, Bassenian/Lagoni Architects, of Newport Beach. It features photographs and floor plans of 35 of their projects, ranging from a moderate sized condominium to enormous McMansions, and includes both houses for developers and individual, one-off projects. The book can't really compare with most of those in the large collection of architecture books I lost in the fire, but at least it's in the same general area. And I must say it was very well designed and printed, which is not often the case with such vanity books.

For dinner I finally go around to baking that frozen lasagna I bought a few weeks ago. It was a family sized dinner, not the usual single-servings I usually buy, but I ate 1/3 of it and will put the other two servings in the refrigerator. I don't like to re-freeze frozen foods, so I'll have to eat them pretty soon. And while I didn't get to go to Safeway today a ride has been tentatively arranged for Thursday, which will be after the new ads come out. I'm hoping they'll have some better deals in the next ad than they had this week.

I'm on the verge of crashing, and there are still dishes to wash, so it's time to let the Internets go for the night. I hope to get a few minutes outdoors before I sleep. It's getting colder, and it won't belong before it will be too uncomfortable to be spending much time outdoors at night. I need to take advantage of this moderate chilliness while it lasts.
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Rusty Tin Roof [Oct. 14th, 2019|01:07 am]
A Sunday of nothing in particular, with quiet hours and mild weather. It was quite a contrast from the night preceding it, when I didn't sleep at all well, restless and waking frequently. I suppose I was too exhausted to get much done, though I did walk over to the Plaza in the late afternoon. There was of course no ride to Safeway. Maybe Monday, maybe Tuesday. In any case, I'm still fairly well exhausted.

The weather might have been pleasant, but it was not invigorating. Tomorrow is the half price sale at the Goodwill store, and a couple of books I've had my eye on might still be there by the time I get there. If not, well, I've got plenty to read. Reading is what I'm going to go do now, since my brain is not much more than fuzz tonight. I certainly hope I can sleep better than I did last night.

Sunday VerseCollapse )
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Saturday Night and Sunday Morning [Oct. 13th, 2019|12:49 am]
Today's outing was only to Grocery Outlet, for a box of the donuts I'll need for breakfast tomorrow. They had nothing else of interest. Had that trip not used up all my energy I might have gone back out to check the books at Goodwill, but I found myself fully exhausted, and by the time I had recovered it was getting too close to nightfall. That's the problem with the shortened days of autumn. I don't know what I'll do once daylight saving time ends. The whole sun heating things up thing is annoying. When the days are long there's too much heat, and when it cools off the days get too short. It wasn't a big problem when I enjoyed going out at night, but I don't like doing that anymore, especially since my decrepit eyes don't see well after dark now, and Chico is not a great place for a pedestrian even in the daytime.

I haven't heard anything about getting a ride to Safeway tomorrow, but it is a possibility. If it doesn't happen no big deal, since Safeway has next to nothing on sale this week that I really want, and anything I really need I can get elsewhere. As for the rest of the week, I hope to get to the Goodwill store Monday for the half price sale. There are a few books I haven't bought at their regular prices that I would be willing to pay half as much for, and there's always the chance that something new that I really want will come in by then. It would be nice if I could get there early in the morning, before everything gets picked over, but that's not very likely to happen. At least its going to be cool enough that I won't have to wait for late evening to go. Early afternoon will do.

The small pot of beans I made last night turned out to be very good again. That's twice in a row. The only problem is that they gave me acid indigestion. That never used to happen, and I have no idea why it did this time. It might be just more age-related deterioration. Quite a few things that never used to bother me do so now, and not only when it comes to digestion. This afternoon as I was returning home I caught a strong whiff of some laundry product on the air, and the perfume was so powerful that I was almost gasping for breath. The fragrances used in certain laundry products, especially fabric conditioners, have always been a bit offensive to me, but I've not had them try to suffocate me until recently. Weird.

The air is okay tonight, though. It is very cool again, and has no odd smells in it. I can put on my hoodie and sit in the darkness, and though there is no longer a cricket to listen too it is very restful, despite the occasional bit of traffic passing on the freeway. I looks like the moon is full, too, or very near it. It's too bad it isn't ark enough in Chico to see the stars. I wonder what Orion is up to? I haven't seen him in such a long time.
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