Saturday, April 03, 2004

Don't forget your clock. This used to be my least favorite day of the year what with setting the clocks forward and losing an hour of sleep. Then I learned to relax and stop caring so much about things like that. It's a little trick I've learned to combat insomnia, being woken too early, restless nights and so forth. When I start grumbling about getting less sleep I simply think "In 100 years I'll be dead" or something along those lines. It works for me. And then I can either get to sleep or, if not, I don't care so much. To some people a thought like that might keep them awake, but not me. Maybe it's because of my systematic theology that I find that to be a relaxing realization.
This morning my cell alarm malfunctioned again and went off an hour and a half early. I didn't get back to sleep. So today I had to unpack my old alarm clock, which I didn't want to do because it's another thing in my room. And it's another occupied outlet. But plug it in I did and set the alarm to the public broadcasting against my better judgement. Yod used to say, and probably still would say it if you were to ask him, that it's best to set your alarm clock to music that you hate because if you set it to music you love it'll just become the soundtrack to your dreams.
My technique is to set it really loud and across the room so I have to get up and walk over to turn it off.
But the cell is going to be shut off tonight. Soon the cell will go away because I'm getting a new cell soon. My father always asks if you want what he's getting you for your birthday. Which is nice. I'm going to spend the next hour or so looking for idiosyncratic cell phone rings on the internet. My brother has the Battlestar Galactica theme on his cell phone. The song translates really well into a cell ring.
Today I spent around the house and mostly alone. My brother was rehearsing for his part in the children's Palm Sunday play tomorrow. He's playing what he describes as "The Fattest Jesus Ever!"
So I mowed the lawn because we're having a bar-b-que after church tomorrow. Laundry, walk, made dinner, listened to Garrison Keillor, it was that kind of Saturday.

Friday, April 02, 2004

I've had an interesting day so far. I woke up and went to the post office with another order that came in this morning. So that was good. Otherwise it would have been a one order morning and it always feels strange to walk to the post office with one mass market paperback in my backpack.
I got back and Pat showed up just as I was making my white tea. Yeah, that's the big news. I got the rarest, finest tea in the world, the elusive white tea. The emperor's tea. The rare hand plucked buds covered in white hair looking strands (hence "white" tea.) The least processed form of tea, it is air dried in natural sunlight which, as opposed to the drying techniques of black and green teas, allows the buds to keep most of their antioxidant properties.
White tea tastes much better than green tea. The problem might be that I never had a problem with green tea before, but I might now. White tea is much gentler. Problem is white tea also has caffiene. Not as much as other types of tea, but I usually drink no caffiene, so I was a little nutty. (Some sources will claim that white tea has more caffiene than green tea, but they are few and their sources are suspect.)
But Pat got here just as my tea was brewing so I had to take it with me. He invited me to run some errands with him in the murder van. We went and bought 60 pounds of mayo. Then we went to Chico State where they donated 50 gallons of fruit punch to Pat's soup kitchen. We dropped all that off. I met a guy there who was a pastor and who I noticed quickly searched for a Masonic handshake when he shook my hand.
Pat and I went to lunch and met with Kevin, who runs Worship Generation at the church. Kevin and Pat are going to teach the parables over the next 10 weeks and they planned it out over lunch. I had fish and chips with malt vinegar and lemon.
Before he left we told Kevin why we call it the murder van. I don't remember if I told that story here yet, so I'ma tell it again. The guy who owned it before owned a restaurant called the Blueberry Twist and had a wife. His wife had a boyfriend. The boyfriend, one night, snuck into the back of the van at the restaurant and when the husband closed up and got in the van, the boyfriend slit his throat and drove the van out of town. They said they found the husband's van in the middle of a field, the husband's body in the back with a lot of sex toys. I don't know why sex toys. But they arrested the boyfriend and let the wife go on some techincality. After seven years the cops released the van from evidence, but there was nobody to collect it, so they donated it to the Jesus Center. Pat said that they had to scrub all the blood out of it when they donated it.
Pat also told me that there was a client at the Jesus Center who is going to prison because, among many many other things, he was driving up and down the Esplanade (a major street) jumping out of the car, hitting people with a tire iron and then taking all of their stuff. I walk down the Esplanade a lot but this actually makes me feel safer to walk down the Esplanade. I'm probably safer now than I was before even though then I didn't know the difference. Plus I'm sure numbnut was doing that at night and I don't walk at night.
Then I came home and Andi made some of the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever had. They're up there in the top five best batches I've ever had.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

I'm always afraid that when I'm mowing the lawn the Talking Ladybug will be in front of me and it will say, "Stop! Do not run me over and I will call to your true love, the woman you were meant to be with, and she will come into your life within the next 24 hours!"

But it's too loud to hear anything talk over the roar of a lawnmower.

My Day In Grass Valley
By Paul Mathers

It's a long drive to Grass Valley. I drove down the 99 to the 149 to the 70 to a road that was barely paved to the 20 to Grass Valley. About an hour and forty minutes. About two cds worth of driving. I drove because I had two checks to cash and that's my nearest bank.
You might remember my bad experience in Sacramento? Well, I decided to go to Grass Valley because there's a branch of my bank there and I figured it'd be easier to drive around there if I got lost.
What I didn't know is that it's not really a valley. It's quite hilly and hard to drive in a small purple car with no pickup.
After the bank I went to historic downtown Grass Valley. It's kind of like a cross between Julian and old town Sacramento. It's nice in a way. There's a place that sells pasties although I'd packed my own lunch so I didn't try one this time. There's a Salvation Army and I bought a lot of inventory there.
Soon I was back on the road. There are many hawks up here. Then there are things which I'm not sure they're hawks or not. I see them flying out of the corner of my eye and they seem far too large to be a bird that isn't extinct. The wingspan seems enormous. But they always disappear into trees when I try to get a better look at them. I saw two of them today.
I also drove through a farm area where they were setting things on fire right by the side of the road. They had stacks of something ablaze so I'm driving down the freeway through smoke. Went on like that for about a mile or so. Maybe they were burning things so the government would pay them for not selling them.
I got to Oroville, which is a bit to the south of Chico. Chico is a small city. Oroville is a medium sized town. And in my humble opinion it's … Actually I should probably keep my fool mouth shut. I might make friends up here who are from Oroville. Let's just say I wouldn't feel too good about walking around Oroville after dark.
Problem for me is that they have one fairly decent thrift store as far as books go. So I'll be going to Oroville on occasion.
Actually the historic downtown Oroville (all cities up here have a historic downtown it seems) is kind of nice. It's not as nice looking as historic downtown Gridley and not as foot traffic friendly as historic downtown Grass Valley, but it's several blocks of fair to middlin' stores. I wouldn't want to live in Oroville, but I didn't mind visiting that section. I found one of those strange used book stores that only has certain used books at certain esoteric discounts.
I got back and put my inventory online and on shelves.
Then the cops came. The cops came over last night because Pat was threatened (again) at work by one of his clients. So the cops have their eye on the guy and they came over to make sure Pat was okay and to give badge stickers and police trading cards to the nieces. That was nice.
Gosh. I hope this isn't the sort of thing one isn't supposed to talk about.

Anyway, my day in Grass Valley was an adventure. I got to listen to a lot of Phish and Tom Waits. And today I'll have the mowing of the front yard adventure.

Monday, March 29, 2004

I got in late tonight, but I got another one of those "sorry to hear this famous person died and I thought of you" emails. One of my favorite living actors died. I've one less favorite living actor and so few come along to take the place of the old ones.
Sir Peter Ustinov was Nero in Quo Vadis? (you might remember his thumbs.) He was in Spartacus. He was Poirot. He was part of my childhood as both the old man in Logan's Run and Herod in Jesus of Nazareth.
Two of the greatest things he ever did at the end of his career that brought tears to my eyes were his PBS mini-series Inside the Vatican (a lot of libraries carry this series and I can't recommend it enough) and his Haydn tribute show.
He brought a quiet dignity to his roles. He was never flashy or overly hammy. He was a heck of a writer too.
I'm not sure most people know that we're all a little poorer today.
I got in late tonight, but I got another one of those "sorry to hear this famous person died and I thought of you" emails. One of my favorite living actors died. I've one less favorite living actor and so few come along to take the place of the old ones.
Sir Peter Ustinov was Nero in Quo Vadis? (you might remember his thumbs.) He was in Spartacus. He was Poirot. He was part of my childhood as both the old man in Logan's Run and Herod in Jesus of Nazareth.
Two of the greatest things he ever did at the end of his career that brought tears to my eyes were his PBS mini-series Inside the Vatican (a lot of libraries carry this series and I can't recommend it enough) and his Haydn tribute show.
He brought a quiet dignity to his roles. He was never flashy or overly hammy. He was a heck of a writer too.
I'm not sure most people know that we're all a little poorer today.
I take back what I said before about drivers in Chico. I have experienced jerks who try and run over pedestrians, or are in so much of a hurry that they'd sooner kill you than wait three seconds for you to get out of their way, but there are less drivers in general in Chico. So I almost get hit less often, but they're out there. And doing that looks even dumber up here because you WILL see them again. It feels a little strange to almost get run down and then as you're passing a parking lot half a block later they're getting out of their truck right next to you. You know you shouldn't say or do anything though because, being the smarter one, you know that they WILL see you again.
That happened this morning.
I'm rapidly becoming more and more anti-automobile. Or at least anti-automobile-with-too-much-size-and-power. The people who have that kind of power act like they can't handle that much power with any sort of respect. It's like politics, the only people who can afford it are the people who act the most harmful and are least able to beneficially wield that kind of power. It makes them too full of themselves. I view my little purple car with no pickup whatsoever like I view a plunger. It's a valuable tool that I hope I never have to use.
Yesterday a dude in a rich man's big car almost ran me down and as they passed all of his family looked out at me with a surprised look in their eyes which either meant "I can't believe Dad almost hit that guy" or "Help us! He's always like this!"

Anyway, don't let's make this a grumpy posting. This morning I was at Chico Natural Foods and the lady behind the counter complimented me on my bandana. It's the black one with all the constellations on it. I told her that the stars glow in the dark. I told her that every time I wash it I feel bad because I know that one day it won't glow anymore.
And I thought, "just like the real stars."
Maybe the universe is just God's do-rag.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

There are all these freakin' gnats around here!

Anyway, it's spring. I had my wash out on the line today. It's been way too long since my clothes have been all stiff and fresh from the line in the sun. And now they are.