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Solidly Booked [Sep. 7th, 2019|01:59 am]
There was no bus trip today, a there was nothing I needed at the bus accessible stores and it is a bit too early to do the banking for the month, plus it was still too hot out, and I wanted to save my energy for a walk over to CVS for beer this evening. Because I left it rather late I'd decided not to bother going to the Goodwill store to look at books today, but when I got to the corner I noticed that the route to the Goodwill store was much shadier than the route to CVS, so I what-the-helled it, and went to look at the books.

It's lucky thing I did, as I found two books I lost copies of in the fire. There was John Knowles' semi-autobiographical first novel, A Separate Peace, and a copy of Henry Roth's Call It Sleep, a book I have loved since I first read it when I was nineteen. I couldn't believe my luck in finding the Roth in particular, since I've been thinking about it quite a bit recently and really wanted to re-read it. The protagonist is a Jewish immigrant boy growing up in New York City in the early 20th century, and not only is it a vivid picture of that time and place, which has always fascinated me, but I've never read any other story that so convincingly conveys what it is like to be a small boy in a confusing world.

While I've read Roth's novel several times over the years, I only read the Knowles once, and have only a vague memory of it, so it's going to be like reading a new story for me. The copy I had was an early paperback, but the one I bought today is a later hardbound volume that includes a number of other short pieces by other writers that are about or can be related in some way to the novel, as well as a couple more short pieces by Knowles himself. I quickly read his essay about writing the novel and seeing it published, and that made me eager to read the book again.

There's good news about the weather, too. We are about to get five days in a row with highs in the mere eighties, one of them, Tuesday, predicted to get only to eighty. Even though it is expected to get back into the nineties after that, this time of year such things are not certain. We might get an even longer mild spell. Plus some of the nights will be dropping into the high fifties, which means I won't be needing the fan at all, and I should be able to close the windows before I go to sleep, which means I won't be awakened by the neighbors' cars starting up early in the morning when they head for work. That's been an annoyance for a while now.

Sadly, the very cool air tonight seems to have silenced my cricket. I haven't hear a chirp from him all evening. But I wasn't really listening for him earlier, when it was still quite a bit warmer. Maybe he'll be there tomorrow night. I'll miss him if he's gone for the season. For me, crickets are the best thing about summer.
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Pie Exists [Sep. 6th, 2019|01:47 am]
A bit of a breeze has come up tonight. It feels pleasantly cool, though the air itself is still quite balmy. It's predicted to drop down to 62, but it's going to have to get going soon if that task is to be accomplished. It's 76 right now. It would be a nice time to go to the beach, if there was a beach around here. In lieu of going to the beach I'm going to have a slice of lemon meringue pie. There might still be enough sherry for a small glass to go with it. Trader Joe's doesn't stock that sherry anymore, or any other sherry, or any port, so I'll have to find a different source for the dessert wine, because I have no intention of drinking any sweet muscatel, which TJ's has in obscene abundance.

All I picked up there this evening was an onion and a tomato. Their onions are good, but the tomatoes are inconsistent and pricey. I didn't actually need them tonight, but thought I might need them for lunch tomorrow, so. I an in fact out of my favorite beer, since I downed the last bottle with dinner, so that's something I'll need to pick up tomorrow evening. I haven't decided yet if I should attempt a Friday bus ride to the accessible markets or not. Probably not, though, since early afternoon temperatures are still pretty unpleasant.

A stop a the Goodwill store netted me two more unnecessary books; one with three novels by P.D. James and one with four novels by S.S. Van Dine. I've never read any books by either of them, though I've seen several adaptations of James on PBS (English people murdering one another!) And of course I've seen some of the unintentionally campy movies from the 1930s that featured William Powell playing Van Dine's monocled detective, Philo Vance. Raymond Chandler once called Vance "the most asinine character in detective fiction." But I have a suspicion that I can get a few chuckles out of these notoriously humorless books. Because I'm weird like that. But we shall see, eventually, when I get around to reading any of them.

In the meantime I'm still working on Agatha Christie's Poirot collection. The utter triviality and frequently implausible plots of these tales are oddly relaxing. They require almost no thought at all, and very little memory. I can fall asleep in the middle of reading one and easily pick up the thread the next night. Plus their familiarity makes snatches of the music from the BBC television series play in my head, which is enjoyable. These days that's about a much as I dare expect.
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Lethargic [Sep. 5th, 2019|12:32 am]
I was planning to go to Trader Joe's this evening and get a couple of onions and some tomatoes, but then when it came time I just didn't feel like getting out. It ought to be a few degrees cooler tomorrow than it was today, and maybe I'll go then, but tonight is expected to be rather warm, only dropping to 69 degrees, so I'm not real happy at the moment. Early this afternoon it was quite cloudy, and we even got a few drops of rain, but all that did was add a bit of mugginess to the heat the clouds were holding in. They are still holding it in. Tomorrow will be only partly cloudy, and tomorrow night we should get back down into the low sixties. Saturday night might even get down to 59. I'd certainly enjoy that.

Rather annoyingly, my ATT-Yahoo email account is currently not functioning. It looks like everything powered by Yahoo email is down right now. I get the notice "mail.yahoo.com’s server IP address could not be found." I can't say I'm surprised. Yahoo is run by a bunch of Oath-holes. They can't seem to tell their Oath from a hole in the ground. I should probably just switch all my email activity to Gmail anyway. I no longer have AT&T Internet or phone, and I suspect they'll just eliminate my email account there someday.

My appetite hasn't been very good lately. Now and then I'll make an actual meal, but most o the time I just snack a bit. Today I had some cottage cheese and a few crackers, and later a few nuts and then four small cookies, plus I've had some cold drinks with fruit juice in them, but I just haven't been hungry enough to go to the trouble of cooking anything. I've been contemplating putting on a couple of ears of corn and a few stalks of asparagus to boil, but I'm not sure I even want to do that, although it would be something to go with a bottle of beer. Plus I really need to use up that corn, and the asparagus isn't getting any fresher. Maybe I'll just haul my fat ass over to the kitchen before it gets any later. Why does that ass not get any smaller when I eat so little? Oh, right. Beer.

Cricket says goodnight, Internets.
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Boil and Bubble [Sep. 4th, 2019|01:21 am]
This evening I made my first trek to Kmart in quite a while. It has been just too hot to go that far, that being the most distant store I walk to, probably close to half a mile away. It was really too hot today, and I was exhausted when I got home, but I wanted to see if they had any jars appropriate for making cold brew coffee (they didn't) and any handkerchiefs I could use as filters (it turns out that although Kmart sells packages of them on its web site they don't stock them in the stores.) I ended up buying a teakettle, though. It is the first time I've seen stainless steel teakettles in any store since I arrived in Chico, and although it was pretty pricey I grabbed it. All I've seen heretofore have been those flimsy aluminum kettles, and I don't want one of those. But I did get five dollars off the regular price since I had bonus cash, which was expiring today.

I also had five dollars of bonus cash to use on clothing, so I bought another tank top (which I won't need for long, since summer will soon be ending— I hope) and another pair of lounging pants. The tank was on sale, but the lounging pants were regular price, and I wouldn't have bought them except that they are decorated with cats, and there were only two pair and I know they wouldn't be around by the time the next clearance sale comes along. I need lounge pants with cats on them, after all. The three items together came to about thirty six bucks, which I suppose I can afford this early in the month. But I still don't have a container appropriate for making cold brew coffee.

It is cooling off fairly well tonight, and the cricket (I can only hear one now) is chirping rather slowly. The traffic on the freeway has died down, and the night is quiet (for Chico) and the air smells fresh. I've opened the windows, to air the apartment out and cool it. It gets pretty stuffy in here on these long, hot days. Tomorrow will be slightly shorter, but just as hot. Thursday it will start cooling just a bit, but the first day with a high below 90 is supposed to be Saturday. I should probably plan a celebration, just in case I survive that long. Maybe a bottle of sparkling wine from Trader Joe's, although I should probably just settle for an extra bottle of beer. In fact I think this year's batch of Sierra Nevada Octoberfest is in the stores now, so maybe I'll pick up a six pack of that.

Okay, I just got distracted by hurricane videos, and flaked for about an hour. One of my nephews has been in the process of moving to Charleston, and it might be that he got there just in time to evacuate, or he might not have left here yet. I'm not sure what part of the town he's going to be in, but it's probably outlying. I'll have to check with my brother to find out what's up.

Snack, book, sleep.
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Literature [Sep. 3rd, 2019|01:07 am]
I ended up a bit short of sleep last night, waking up around ten in the morning after dropping of around four. As it turned out this let me get to the Goodwill store's sale earlier than I otherwise would have, and I picked up five more books, three of which I've had my eye on. The store has a smalls election of old books, often rather beat up, which it calls "vintage" and which it prices at five dollars rather than the usual $2.99 for most hardbacks (Other than best-sellers, which go for eight bucks.) None o the three were books I was willing to shell out five dollars for, but $2.50 I found acceptable.

One is a complete collection of Guy de Maupassant's short stories, a very thick volume that has no date of publication but does contain an inscription that includes the date "Oct. '39" so it's at least that old. I had a paperback of some de Maupassant, but never a complete collection. The second book is a copy of T. H. White's The Once and Future King, which I previously had in a paperback edition from the 1960s. This hardback is not much older, as the copyright information includes the renewal in 1959, but it is pretty beat up. The previous owner (or owners) must have enjoyed it, as it has obviously been read many times.

The third book is extracts from the Arabian Nights tales, in the rather florid translation by Sir Richard Burton. There are but thirty of the 1,001 tales, which is considerably fewer than in the abridged paperback of a more modern translation I lost in the fire. I believe that the entire Burton version is available on the Internet, though, since it has long since gone into the public domain, so I don't really need this book. It will simply be nice to have a few of the stories in a form I can easily read while lying in bed.

The two modern books I bought include a single-volume edition of the first three novels in the Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell. I've never read any Cornwell before, but her reputation among detective fiction fans is very good, and I believe there are over a dozen novels featuring her fictional forensic pathologist, Kay Scarpetta, so she must be doing something right. We'll see if she can make murders in Richmond, Virginia, as interesting as murders in England. If not, well, I only paid $1.50 for this three-in-one, which, adjusted for inflation, makes them each about as cheap as the penny dreadfuls of the 19th century, so no big loss.

The other modern book I picked up is Larry McMurtry's Duane's Depressed, featuring the characters from his novel The Last Picture Show. This one is the sequel to Texasville, which picked up the characters a couple of decades after the events in the first novel. I had a paperback of Texasville, and I think I can remember it well enough that I won't have any trouble connecting it to this final volume in the series. Of course what I might have trouble doing is finding enough time to read all this stuff I've bought.

It did get uncomfortably hot again today, so I stopped at Taco Bell on the way back from book shopping and picked up a burrito for a late lunch. I figured I'd fix something for a late dinner, but never got around to it and now I don't think I'll bother. I'm getting pretty tired after being awake since ten o'clock this morning. I might make some cinnamon toast and chocolate milk, it still being to hot for cocoa. There will be two more quite hot days before a moderate cooling trend will set in, and I'm really looking forward to enjoying some days in the mere high eighties. We'll most likely have to wait until October to have some in the seventies. Oh, well. At least I've got plenty to read.
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August Exhausted [Sep. 2nd, 2019|12:14 am]
So I got to start September with a trip to Safeway, but as it was a surprise I didn't eat anything first, and ended up buying some impulse items. Always eat before shopping, so your stomach won't be emptier than your bank account. Anyway, I now have a thirty-pack of Tecate, and a pound of almonds with wasabi and soy flavoring, and two jars of peperoncini. The only reason I don't have more ice cream is because I knew my freezer was already jammed. Oh, and I bought a cantaloupe, too, but it's not quite ripe enough to cut yet.

But with all the fresh food I've gotten the last few days I didn't feel like eating much tonight, so I'm just having quick noodles. I'll probably make something more elaborate for Labor Day. I'm actually quite tired tonight, despite having slept fairly late. Summer will soon be gone, and maybe my energy will return. Right now I can barely keep my eyes open. If I get to sleep early enough maybe I'll be able to get to the Goodwill store for its Labor Day sale tomorrow before everything is sold. That would be nice.

Sunday VerseCollapse )
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The Brief Respite [Sep. 1st, 2019|01:34 am]
My supply of my favorite kind of beer was getting low, so I went to CVS this evening to replenish it, stopping along the way to check for books a the Goodwill store. There were none of interest, but I've got so many piled up unread right now that it doesn't matter. At CVS I also picked up a package of pens. The are the first I've seen there with a 0.5mm fine point. Fine point pens are hard to come by when you have to depend on drug stores for your writing implement needs, so I was glad to get it even though the quality is not as high as I'd like. Pilot made a very good fine point gel pen for a while, but I haven't seen one in years.

With luck I could get a ride to Safeway sometime in the next three days, so I can take advantage of their Labor Day sale. There are a few good items I could stock up on, a couple I'm going to need soon, and a luxury item or two I'd really like to have, since the occasional luxury item makes a good distraction from the awful weather this time of year. We're expecting a trio of pretty hot days again starting tomorrow, but starting a week from tomorrow we are supposed to get a string of days with highs in the mere eighties.

Before summer ends, I intend to try making some cold brew coffee. Save Mart was giving away 10 ounce packages of coffee when I was there Friday, and since I don't have a coffee pot anymore cold brew is pretty much my only option, unless I want to try making cowboy coffee in a pan, which I don't. However, I find that I don't really have a proper container in which to make the cold brew either. A Mason jar is supposed to be ideal. I might cheat and use a plastic orange juice jar. The other thing I need is a filter. A recipe on the Internet says a cotton handkerchief or cocktail napkin makes a good filter. I don't have either of those, but I suppose I might pick one up at Kmart. I haven't checked the store, but their web site advertises ten-packs of white cotton handkerchiefs for $6.99.

Despite today having been a bit hotter, it's cooling off pretty well tonight, and I'm going to sit in the back yard for a while with a glass of cold lemonade and listen to the crickets. I was wondering if we were going to get those obnoxious small crickets down here like we got on the ridge, and this evening I heard one, though it only buzzed for about fifteen minutes. I now think it likely that we will soon get more of them, and they will be more persistent, and the nights will soon be an agony of shrill buzzing. That's why I'd like to spend as much time as I can now with the nice crickets. I'm going to miss them when the little hell-crickets start drowning them out.
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Hot and Cool [Aug. 31st, 2019|01:15 am]
Goodness, is it midnight already? How time flies (like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.) I like a banana myself, and like a banana cream pie even more, and since I managed to get up in time to bus ride to Save Mart today I thought I might pick one up, since they have the Claim Jumper frozen pies on sale. But yes, they had no banana. They had plenty of the pies you need to bake (in this weather, hell no) but among the pies you just thaw and serve there were only chocolate (tempting, but I eat lots of chocolate stuff in other forms,) coconut cream (I might enjoy one slice of coconut cream, but this is a whole damned pie we're talking about, so uh-uh,) and they had a lemon meringue. I settled for that, since I'm fond of the flavor and also like the word meringue very much, though for pie eating I really prefer the cream varieties. It was a compromise. I'll just say "mmmmeringue" in between bites, and I'm sure that will keep me happy.

It was fortunate that the pie needed to be thawed for eating this very day, as the bus home was almost twenty minutes late, and it was way hot out there. Less fortunate was the fact that I also bought some other frozen stuff, since I was only going to the one store and not the bank, so had plenty of time to get to the bus stop before the scheduled arrival of that public conveyance. But with the bus being late, the stuff was out of the freezer about forty minutes before I got it home. I hope it will be okay. If I die from some sort of re-frozen food poisoning just blame Butte County Transit.

However, if I die tonight it will most likely be because of the Nongshim noodle bowl I ate about an hour ago. It was a flavor I've not tried before, called Gourmet Spicy. As a rule I don't buy things with the word "gourmet" on the package, since in commercial foods it is almost invariably a euphemism for crappy and weird, but since I've enjoyed the other flavors of Nongshim bowls I've tried I decided I'd make an exception. They aren't kidding about the spicy. For the first few minutes after eating it I thought it possible that my stomach had become deranged and would digest my entire body from the inside out. It has eased up a bit now, but my tongue is still sore. The stuff was hot as hell, but also so tasty! I'm not a masochist, not even of the gustatory variety, but I just might buy some more of that stuff. I could probably eat it about four times a year without needing hospitalization. Of course if the bowl I ate tonight proves fatal, the whole question becomes moot.

But I'm really, really, really glad that that lemon meringue pie is probably just about thawed, as I'm hoping that eating a slice of it will cool my tongue off enough that I can eventually get to sleep tonight. But first, of course, I'll go sit in the at last blessedly cool night air of the back yard for a while and listen to my crickets. Oh, and there is back yard news as well. This afternoon I noticed a small creature scurrying across the cement, and on close inspection (meaning from about three feet, my eyes having gotten so bad) I discovered that it was a baby lizard! It is probably the offspring of the one who was hanging out in the yard earlier this year, but who I haven't seen for a few weeks. Perhaps there will be more of them out there. I think I'd enjoy having a lizard family in the yard, as long as they are smart enough not to get under my feet.
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Not Quite Normal Yet [Aug. 30th, 2019|12:03 am]
This evening I did manage a brief outing to fetch a few items from Grocery Outlet. They haven't had much interesting stuff lately, so all I bought was donuts and a couple of small jars of pre-cold-brewed coffee. A year or two ago the Outlet was getting these 32-ounce boxes of pre-brewed coffee, the brand name of which I don't remember, but they were only 99 cents each, and it was really good stuff.

It is probable likely that they don't make that brand anymore, so I will occasionally buy one or two of these little jars, when they have them. I don't drink enough coffee to justify buying a coffee maker. There wouldn't rally be enough room in this tiny kitchen for one anyway. The cheapest little jars are $1.49 for ten ounces, so I have to think of them more as a flavoring than a beverage, and usually mix it with milk. I wish they still had that other stuff.

Another thing Grocery Outlet used to have was packaged baked goods from a company with a very odd, Germanic name I cant recall. Little individual cakes and buns and such things that were quite good, but I haven't seen them in a couple of years. That's the problem with Grocery Outlet. For a while they will have something you really like, and then it vanishes and never comes back.

Although I did get out this evening, it was still too hot to be enjoyable, and I was exhausted by the time I got back. I've been thinking I might try to get out on the bus tomorrow, but I don't know. It's still going to be hot, and and waiting for a bus while hot and tired is not at all fun. Besides which with the sleep schedule (or non-schedule) I've had for the last several days it's unlikely I'd be getting up early enough to go anyway. That window of opportunity with the convenient bus is so narrow. And I haven't even checked the ads or the stores in that neighborhood anyway. All the supermarket web sites have been misbehaving rather badly of late.

It's almost cool enough to have the windows open now. I'm going to have a snack,listen to crickets, and read for a while. I'm hoping that just maybe I'll be able to get to sleep a bit earlier tonight, since I only got about six hours last night. A nasty leg cramp woke me up about noon, and by the time I'd walked it off I was too awake to get back to sleep. Maybe that will turn out to have been a good thing.
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Bookish [Aug. 29th, 2019|03:24 am]
The few degree decline in temperature today, along with the fact that I was going stir crazy, induced me to go out this evening and visit the Goodwill store and Trader Joe's. The visit to Goodwill was fortuitous, as I found five books I liked. There is a hardbound collection of all of Flannery O'Connor's short stories, a hardbound volume containing five Agatha Christie novels (if I can't watch English people murdering one another on television, at least I can read about them doing so,) a paperback with all five of Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide novels, and a paperback of one more of Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City series.

The last book is a locally published (though printed in China) book of Chico's history, with lots of historic and recent photos. It's a nice, oversized, but not very thick, hardbound volume, signed by the (local) author. I don't know if it was published with a dust jacket or not, but it doesn't have one now, which is unfortunate. I'm a fan of dust jackets on hardbound books. The Christie collection doesn't have one, either, but the O'Connor collection does. Still, I can't complain. It was senior discount day, so I got the ten novels, thirty or so short stories, and the local history all for less than twelve bucks ($1.30 off!)

Anyway, aside from four of the Adams novels, which I had in single volumes, and a few of O'Connor's stories that I had in various anthologies, none of these are books I had before the fire, so despite a growing collection, I'm not making much progress on replacing the library I lost. But at least I'll have plenty to read for now, and since the Goodwill store is so easy to get to I'm bound to get even more. Probably more than I can read, in fact. On Labor Day the store is having a 50%-off sale, but sine I get up rather late in the day I suspect the books will have been picked over and the best ones sold by the time I get there, so I probably shouldn't worry about getting too extravagant then.

The night is still a bit on the warm side, and I don't have the windows open yet, but it is noticeably cooler than recent nights, and we are getting some intermittent breezes, which make for a pleasant change. I'm feeling considerably less grumpy that I have lately. But the only cricket I'm hearing is some distance off. I don't know what has become of the one who lives just down the trail. I saw some blue jays hanging out in the neighborhood earlier today. I hope they didn't eat him.

Tomorrow isn't expected to be any hotter than today was, so maybe I'll be able to get out in the coolish of the evening again. I'll be needing a bit of stuff from Grocery Outlet, which is a different direction from the Goodwill store and a bit farther away than Trader Joe's, and it would be somewhat sunnier that way and more strenuous, but we shall see. Donuts might be worth the effort. Donuts are pretty good.

Dumbass! I finished writing this entry just before one o'clock in the morning, but when I went to post it I found that I had no Internet. I let my cellphone, which I use as a hotspot, run down again. I'm recharging the battery now, but that takes about two hours, so I won't be able to post until about three o'clock in the morning. I don't know if I'll be awake then. This is the fourth time lately that I've let the phone's battery run down to zero. It seems to be draining faster than it used to. I wonder if the battery is wearing out, since using the phone as a hotspot means I have to recharge it every day? That's close to 250 times it has been recharged since I got it. Maybe I should buy a backup battery to keep on hand. And find out how to stick it into the phone, since I don't know that either. Modern life is puzzling for technodolts like me.

Ah, here it is. And I got a rather long Poirot story with a murdered Englishman init read.
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