laszlo moholy-nagy_chx

Monday No Fun Day

After making my way to Grocery Outlet this afternoon I found that they no longer had any of the items in this week's ad I was interested in, and they were also out of the kind of donuts I buy. There is another type of donuts they sell there, so I bought those. They are a bit cheaper than the others, by volume at least, since they come in dozens instead of half dozens, but dozens go stale before I can finish them unless I eat two a day, which I don't like to do.

Walking down there was more tiring than usual, too, and coming back was utterly exhausting. I had been thinking I might try to go to Safeway on the bus Tuesday, as the things in this week's ad I'd like to get are mostly small and would be easy to carry on the bus, but after my experience today I just don't know that I'd have the energy. The new ad comes out Wednesday, so this will be my last chance to get the stuff from this week's ad.

Other than that I got nothing done today. Even my dinner was microwaved. Oh, I did finally remember to put the wheelie bin out tonight. That was more tiring than usual too. Exhaustion is rapidly becoming my new normal condition. I'm not sure I'll even be able to get to the Goodwill store for senior discount day Tuesday or Wednesday. Next Sunday's red tag sale seems very far away, as does the following day's whole store half price sale.

One problem today was that the city was doing some tree trimming along the bike trail, and the incredibly loud machinery was running right behind my apartment, waking me up at ten o'clock in the morning. Maybe I'll get to sleep a bit earlier tonight, if I'm not overtired. But recently reading has been putting me to sleep pretty fast, so that might work. The forecast is calling for a shocking high of 72 degrees tomorrow. Can it really be February? It's suppose to get back to highs in the sixties for a couple of weeks after that, but that's like late March weather. I'm starting to fear that our winter is already over, and that a brief spring will then give way to torrid summer by April. Most displeasing.
caillebotte_man at his window


The trip to the Goodwill store for the tag sale was eventful. Some of the blue-tagged items I'd anticipated buying were still there, though one item (a DVD of a production of Murder on the Orient Express I've never seen, with Kenneth Branagh as Poirot) had already been sold. I did find one blue-tagged movie to buy, but I've seen it before— Cher's romantic comedy Moonstruck, which I've always liked despite the presence of Nic Cage.

Five blue-tagged books I'd had my eye on remained. These included three novels: Scot Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night, a copy of which I lost in the fire; Martin Amis's London Fields; and John Updike's In the Beauty of the Lillies. I also picked up a hardback of Cleveland Amory's Compleat Cat, which is all three of his cat books in one volume. In fact I bought the second and third volumes in the series not long ago as individual paperbacks, but it downed on me that at half price this omnibus volume would cost me less than a single copy of The Cat Who Came for Christmas at the store's usual prices. Since A copy of that book is unlikely to turn up on the shelf during one of their sales I decided to go ahead and get the triple-decker.

The last blue-tagged book I bought was one of the National Geographic Society's lavish, profusely illustrated travel books, Discovering Britain and Ireland. I had a few NG books before the fire, but not this one. Anyway, the five books and one movie came to seven and a half bucks, which I felt was a disappointingly small expenditure, but then I found three items that were not on sale so I wouldn't feel like such a piker at the checkout stand. One is The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson, another book I lost in the fire, though the edition I had was a bit fancier than this one, which is a Barnes and Noble trade paperback.

The other regular priced items I got were both movies, and I snatched them up because I'm pretty sure they wouldn't still be there when the next sale comes around. Most of the movies at Goodwill are the sort of thing Hollywood makes these days aimed at fifteen-year-olds or younger, or they are direct-to-video crap, often either religious or penny-dreadful romantic. But today I found a copy of All About Eve, almost the only classic movie I've seen on the shelves there. The other movie I bought was a two-disc set of the BBC's lavish production of Pride and Prejudice, with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. It's one of the best movies I've ever seen that was made for television, and I was surprised to find it today. I wish somebody would donate more stuff like this to Goodwill. I don't mind paying $2.99 for movies like this.

I still haven't made any plans for the rt of this week. There is some reality-related stuff (insurance, State ID card) I ought to be dealing with, but so far I haven't gotten my cat together. That's probably what I should do. In the meantime, I know I posted the Sunday Verse last night, so it would actually appear on Sunday instead of Monday, but since I bought that volume of Dickinson today I want to post one of her poems now.

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caillebotte_man at his window

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

After the weird schedule Friday created, I found myself wondering if maybe I could catch an early bus to the library for their weekly book sale, which takes place from 9:00 to 11:30 Saturday mornings. I thought it might be possible until around seven o'clock when my energy level suddenly crashed. I ended up going back to sleep until half past twelve in the afternoon. That left me with not much of the day to do anything with, so I just went to CVS to replenish the beer supply, stopping at the Goodwill store along the way.

Since the Sunday tag sale will be books with blue tags, I left those on the shelf, but I found three other books that I wanted, one enormous, one large, and one quite good-sized. The enormous book is a paperback of Spiro Kostof's 1985 publication A History of Architecture, subtitled Settings and Rituals. I remember seeing this book when it was first out and coveting it, but being unable to afford it. After I moved away from Los Angeles I just never got to o to book stores that would have it, but now I've found a copy, thirty-five years later.

The large book I bought was a hardback of H. L. Mencken's magnum opus, The American language, revised edition, which was published in 1936 (the original edition dated to 1919.) You don't read much about American literature without running across mentions of this book, and I'm glad I've finally got a copy. The store also had the two supplements to the book, published in 1945 and 1948, but I didn't buy those. For one thing, the books I'd already picked out weight a ton, and I had to get beer, and really didn't want my arm wrenched from its socket carrying too much weight. For another, it's unlikely I'll live long enough to read this volume, let alone two equally large supplements. Maybe if they are still there at the next store-wide half price sale (a week from Monday) I'll break down and pick them up. I'm sure that whoever donated them would be livid that I'd broken up the set.

The third book is a nice paperback edition of The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce. "Bitter Bierce" really is one of the masters of the form, and I had several of his stories in anthologies, though never the complete collection before. This copy does have one bit of damage, part of an early blank page having been torn out, removing a corner of the drawing of the author on its other side. I suspect that a previous owner had inscribed their name on that leaf, and either they or a later owner had then torn it out. But I like a book with a bit of mysterious history.

Because my schedules of all sorts have gone so catawampus over the last year, it seems I rarely post the Sunday Verse until Monday mornings, which just doesn't seem right. Tonight I'm going to post it in this entry, in time to actually appear on Sunday. And since I just bought a book of Ambrose Bierce's short stories, I'm going to post one of his poems. He was not a great poet, by any means, but he had his moments. Usually pretty grim moments, but moments still.

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Surviving Friday

Friday went a bit pear-shaped. I got the banking done, but the shopping trip didn't turn out quite as I'd hoped, a couple of things I'd intended to buy not being available, and then missing the bus home by about one minute and waiting 35 minutes for the next one, which was late, as usual. The bus I missed was on time, which is unnatural. Later I made a late run to the Goodwill store, where I spotted a few items with blue tags that will be half price on Sunday, if they are still there. Since none are things I absolutely must have, I'm willing to wait for the bargains.

I also picked up a Taco Bell burrito for dinner, and then felt rather tired after eating. I had actually taken a bit of coffee between the trips out, precisely to stave off such tiredness, but I guess it didn't work. I ended up lying down for a few minutes and sleeping for about six hours. Now, having been awake for about three hours, I'm wondering what to do with myself at five o'clock in the morning, and wondering if I'll ever get back to sleep tonight, tonight being, you know, pretty much over. It's very weird.

But it was nice to go out without wearing a hoodie under my jacket for a change. Yet since the leaves are still off the trees it actually got a bit hot sitting in the glare at the bus stop. A little foretaste of summer hellishness in the middle of winter. That's the nice thing about California. No matter how good or bad the weather is, you know it's always going to get both better and worse eventually, and eventually is never that far off. To live here is to be constantly reminded of how close to truly powerless we really are.

There are no fixed plans for the week ahead, aside from going to the Goodwill store Sunday, getting a six pack of beer sometime today, and picking up more donuts before Monday morning. Gee, that's a pretty full schedule for a weekend, for me. I wonder if I can handle it? Maybe I should try to arrange a vacation early in the week, so I can unwind.
gericault_raft of the medusa 1


I totally forgot to post anything. Well, I pretty much forgot the whole day, actually. I recall thinking about taking a bus somewhere, but ended up not doing it, and then I went to the Goodwill store, but didn't find any more books to buy, and finally stopped at the Dollar Tree to pick up a couple of packages of cheap tissues. I've been running low due to that persistent cold I had. My nose still gets runny periodically, and then just stops for no apparent reason.

Anyway, everything else is fuzzy. I napped a couple of times but didn't sleep well. There's a headache that is aggravated by the periodic cough that returns with nightfall. I used to get coughs at nightfall when I was a kid, so it's another example of childhood conditions recrudescing with age. I'm hoping I can sleep better tonight, as I really do have to get to the bank tomorrow.

At least it's not as cold tonight as it has been for the last couple of nights. The weekend is supposed to get warmer but windy. Next Tuesday could get up to 70 degrees. There is no serious promise of rain in the next two weeks. Winter is fizzling out, it seems. I'm in no position to be pointing fingers, though. Feeling pretty fizzley myself.


Wednesday turned into one of those days when everything felt oddly discombobulated. I think it was mostly because I woke up way too early, and couldn't get back to sleep. After that everything just naturally fell out of place. Also I think I had some very weird dreams the night before, but I couldn't remember them. It was just that feeling I get when I wake up that something is terribly off.

But I still managed to make another trip to the Goodwill store, and found a few more books, so now I have two days worth to write about. I've picked up three arty coffee table books, one about Salvador Dalí, another about Frank Lloyd Wright, and the third is The Oxford Project, a book of black and white photos by Peter Feldstein of all the residents of the tiny town of Oxford, Iowa, in 1984, and updated photos of many of them from around 2005. The accompanying text by Stephen G. Bloom tells a bit about the subjects of the photos. It's quite fascinating.

Then there is an interesting reference book, Dictionary of 20th Century Design, which features a nice assortment of photos too, though all black and white and mostly small. The text predominates, and is made of short articles mostly about various designers and styles of the period. And then I got a big paperback edition of The California Missions, a pictorial history and guide published by Sunset magazine. I had a few pictorial books published by Sunset, but not this particular one.

Finally, I got three books of fiction. There are two more volumes from Alexander McCall Smith's The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, and copy of George MacDonald's classic fantasy novel At the Back of the North Wind, a facsimile of the 1919 edition with the original illustrations by Jessie Willcox Smith. I remember seeing this book when I was very young and wishing I could read it, but I hadn't learned to read well enough yet. I guess I should read it soon, before I forget how to do it well enough.

It is very, very chilly tonight, and I am not enjoying that. It's supposed to get up into the mid-sixties tomorrow, which I'm looking forward to. I'm also very tired right now, and need to go crawl under the covers. I've been awake since nine o'clock this morning. But first there are dishes to wash. I hope I don't end up too tired to sleep.

Now Day is Done

I went to Safeway this afternoon and many items found their way into my basket and ended up in my cupboards or refrigerator, or in the vicinity of same, as I am short of storage space. But I got up too early today, and now I am at risk of falling off my chair as I keep nodding off, and the lolling of my head is threatening to snap my neck. I must go sleep, and thus am likely to wake up in the dark of this cold night at some ungodly hour such as four o'clock, and be miserable and depressed. So no long journal entry tonight, though I went to the Goodwill store too, and bought some books. News of them will have to wait. I feel very accomplished and sad. Goodnight, Internets.
laszlo moholy-nagy_chx

Monday Monday

This afternoon a small, grey bird came into my back yard and pecked around a bit, making a couple of stops to drink a bit of water from the tip of the garden hose, which drips ever so slowly. The mockingbird also visited, to stayed on a branch of the bush along the fence, and sang for several minutes. There was also a squirrel who made a quick run across the roof and leaped into a tree down the path to the east. I haven't been hearing any waterfowl pass over by night, though. During the recent rainy spell I heard a flock or two almost nightly. I don't think they are emigrating yet. They were most likely visiting some of the ponds that form in this area when it rains. If the long range forecast is accurate, I'm unlikely to be hearing them again for at least a couple of weeks. No rain is in sight.

It's possible that I'll be getting arid to Safeway tomorrow, though today I only made it as far as Grocery Outlet. I needed donuts, but was lucky to find decent orange juice (which I just ran out of) and some grapefruit juice too. I also snagged an avocado and a mango, both of which were quite reasonable, and because I had a coupon for five dollars off a purchase of fifteen dollars or more I also picked up a big box of European candies to put my sum over the top. They are little bars of chocolate with various fillings, and there are 28 ounces of them. This was probably a bad decision, as I get more sugar then I need already.

I need to start psyching myself up to get to the bank on Friday. I also need to let the insurance company know that I'll soon be needing more of the money from the loss-of-use fund. I've only got a couple more months or rent in the account right now. The insurance is supposed to pay my rent for three years, and there is plenty in the fund to cover it. In fact I could move to a considerably more expensive apartment and it would still be covered. I've thought about doing that, but finding a place and moving is such a hassle, even when you have very little stuff to move.

I made a pot of chili for dinner tonight, and though it was fairly tasty it isn't making me feel very good. Probably another mistake. And I've got at least three more servings left over. It's likely to be a rough week.
caillebotte_man at his window

Palindrome Sunday 02022020

It has gotten very cold tonight, after several much milder nights, and is in fact expected to get down to freezing. I'm not enjoying it. The next few days will be chilly too, and Monday and Tuesday will be windy, so unpleasantness will prevail. It will get milder by the end of the week, though, and I'm looking forward to that. But for the time being I'll have to minimize my excursions. The chill is aggravating my cough, so I'll be staying in the heated apartment as much as possible.

But Sunday afternoon I did get to the tag sale at the Goodwill store, and did buy the three items I'd had my eye on. One is a copy of E. L. Doctorow's Ragtime, which I have never read, though I did see the movie based on it. The other two items are DVDs, one being Jackass, the Movie. For those not familiar with the franchise, the Jackasses are several guys who do incredibly stupid and dangerous stunts, and attempt, usually with great success, to make one another look ridiculous. Asking me why I enjoy the Jackasses is pointless. I suppose like them for the same reasons so many guys like the Three Stooges. It's just incredibly dumb stuff with no point and lets you turn your higher brain functions off and enjoy a few minutes of mindless pleasure in other people's willful suffering.

The other movie is Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which I watched several times on cable. Now that I don't have cable anymore, and am unlikely to ever have it again, watching this movie will be a pleasant reminder of the past, when I used to watch movies from under a pile of cats. Plus Maggie Smith and Alan Rickman, and I really enjoy the musical score.

But in addition to these items I also found a book that was not on sale, but worth the three bucks I paid for it. It's an enormous hardbound coffee table book called Hollywood Legends, with over three hundred black and white movie stills and portraits of movie stars, some by Hollywood's most accomplished photographers. Hours of pleasure, I'm sure, recalling all those old movies I'm unlikely to get a chance to watch again. So I'd say it was a good day, and I hope the rest of the week can live up to it, though I doubt it will.

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laszlo moholy-nagy_chx

Saturn's Day

Saturday was not especially exciting, though it was mild enough this afternoon that when the mockingbird came and perched on the bush in my back yard I was able to open the window a bit to listen to his music. Later I went to CVS to replenish my beer supply, and stopped at the Goodwill store on the way and bought one book, an enormous hardback with the complete stories of J. G. Ballard. I've never read any Ballard, though I know he is quite well known among fans of science fiction. His book had a praise blurb from Martin Amis on the cover, though, and I do like Amis.

While there I scoped out the books and DVDs with brawn tags, which will be half price tomorrow. Today there was only one brown tagged book I would want, and if it is still on the shelf tomorrow I'll get it. There are two DVDs I'll buy if they are still available. I don't know if they will put more stuff on the shelves tomorrow or not, but if they do I might find another item or two worth picking up cheap.

I'd intended to call a nephew this evening to see if he could take me to Safeway tomorrow evening, but I got distracted and forgot, and by the time I remembered it was much too late to call. I'll try to remember to call tomorrow, after the trip to Goodwill. The current sale prices are good through Tuesday, and there are several items I could use.

For dinner I made some tuna sandwiches, which was probably a mistake, but there was aging bread to use up. They were not good for my stomach, though, which has been rather touchy lately anyway. I then compounded the error by eating an ice cream sandwich for desert, which not only aggravates my indigestion but has also set off my cough. It's a problem I had when I was a kid with bronchitis, which was invariably aggravated by dairy products. You know you are getting old when your childhood afflictions start recrudescing.

There is a smell in the air tonight that reminds me of Shinola. That smell is among my earliest memories, from when my dad used to shine his shoes. I'm wondering if there might be a carob tree in the neighborhood, perhaps somewhere across the bike path, though I don't know if carob trees would have ripe pods on them at this time of year. To me, carob smells a bit like Shinola. But then to me, Shinola also smells a little bit like the shit from which, the proverb tells us, some people are unable to distinguish it. Carob, needless to say, is not among my favorite foods.

Rats! I just discovered that I let my cell phone/hot-spot battery run down again, and I have no Internets. That's what I get for watching videos online. I've plugged it in to charge, but that will take a couple of hours. I suppose I'll just go read something until I can get back online and post this entry, probably some time after two o'clock in the morning. I'll try not to fall asleep before I get that done.