January 3rd, 2020

1986

Book Me, Danno

Due to my habit of stocking up on various things when they are on sale I sometimes find my self overstocked, and currently I've got quite a bit of stuff that needs to be used up soon, including some frozen hamburger patties and some cans of chili, so tonight I decided to fix a chili size for dinner. (For those who don't know what a chili size is, it's a Los Angeles thing dating from the 1930s or perhaps earlier, and it involves a big serving of chili over an open-faced hamburger. It was invented at a greasy spoon diner called Ptomaine Tommy's, located on North Broadway in the Lincoln Heights district, and is the reason many people from a couple of generations of Angelenos came to call chili itself "size," instead of chili, which I'm sure confused many people from other places.)

I had no hamburger buns, so I substituted crushed tortilla chips, which I often use as a bed for chili anyway, and it would have worked out well had it not been for the fact that the hamburger has apparently been in the freezer a bit too long, an the fact that (not surprisingly) I overcooked it. But the chili itself was okay, so the dinner was not a total loss. In fact my cooking is so bad that I've come to consider nothing I can eat a total loss as long as there is plenty of beer to wash it down with, which there was. I'm sure the dinner is going to give me indigestion (I'm already feeling the first pangs,) but at least I've now got a bit more room in my freezer and cupboards. I'll be sure to stock up less on those things in the future.

Earlier this evening I made my way to the Goodwill store, and there I became extravagant. I bought nine books, and it wasn't even senior discount day. One of them was what they call a vintage book, too, for which they charge five dollars. It is the second volume of a two-volume set called The Complete Greek Drams, published in 1938. This volume has several plays by Euripides, plus all of Aristophanes' comedies, and the three surviving plays by Menander. Aeschylus, Sophocles, and the rest of Euripides are in volume one, which was sadly not available. But then odds are I wouldn't live long enough to read even all of volume two, so I'm not going to worry about it.

I also bought three volumes of the Lemony Snicket books, A series of Unfortunate Events. These are kids books, of course, but from what I've heard of them they are the sort of books I'd have liked to have read when I was a kid, so I'm going to make up for lost time (gee, I feel just like Michael Jackson.) The thing is they were on the store's "best seller" shelf, and hardbacks on that shelf are usually eight bucks, but these were marked at three, so I thought bargain time. They had two other volumes from the series, which were indeed priced at eight dollars each, so I didn't get those.

The remaining five books were paperbacks, so only two bucks each. One of them is an oversized volume from Oxford University Press, The Roman World, which is nicely illustrated with photos, drawings and maps, all of which I enjoy. Then there is an almost mint copy of C. S. Forster's The Good Shepherd, his novel about a Merchant Marine convoy in the North Atlantic during World War Two. It's one of those books I always intended to read but never got a copy of. Finally, there are three volumes from Alexander McCall Smith's series The No. 1 Ladies' Detective
Agency
, which is set in Botswana. There are nineteen books in the series, and some of them have been made into a television series, though I haven't seen any of them. I've heard good things about them, though, so I decided it was worth taking the risk of snagging all three volumes that were on the shelf.

So, nine books for 24 dollars, and except for a couple of the plays in the Greek Drama book none of them were things I had before the fire. At the rat I'm going by the time I've got a tenth of the stuff I lost I'll have accumulated ten times as many books altogether as I had before. But then finding a book I like is almost the only thing that brightens the dull days here in the dull mini-metropolis. That, and listening to the mockingbird during his afternoon visits, which I did for several minutes today. Well, yesterday now, since it's well after midnight. I must head for bed and read for a while, or I'll never get through a fraction of my new literary horde.