She's going to really creep me out by Wednesday
Well, if it’s Tuesday, that means it’s Monday. At least from where I sit right now. And that means pictures, alas. This turned into a four-column day, which is doable but annoying. Gnat was off at summer school this morning; I finished one. We hit the pool in the afternoon, and I tried to finish a book I put down a while ago. Almost three years ago, to judge from the airline ticket stub I used as a bookmark. Pity. It’s a novel about radio in the 1940s: "Two O'Clock Eastern Wartime."
That's a title that makes the book almost leap into my hands. It’s the sort of novel I’ll end up writing eventually - if I'm lucky. Something that grafts the inevitable murder onto something that most people wouldn’t otherwise read. I hate to say it, because it does not bode well for my future success as a novelist, but I don’t have that much interest in murder. It’s been done, shall we say. But I still remember what my first editor told me, years ago, as I sat in his office as a callow First Novelist who’d flown to New York to discuss the book. “Someone has to die in the first chapter.” And so someone did – and the book was better for it.

When I get around to writing Mill City Blues, the 1948 novel of Minneapolis I’ve been dancing around for a few years, there will be murder a-plenty.

But only after The Matchbook Artist is finished. No, I haven’t sold it yet. Haven’t tried. That’ll come in August.

Anyway, she swam. After half an hour she was done. “I pretended I was doing many things under the water,” she said. “Lifting weights, planting crops, feeding a dog, and then I was being a dog.”


“Yeah. I didn’t make any friends so I used my imagination.”

That was my childhood too, I wanted to say. “No friends? You’re usually good at making friends.” And she is; last week she brought a new friend over to me at the pool and said “Daddy, this is Heather,” and gestured as though she was presenting a debutante at a cotillion. She makes friends easily, and doesn’t have one of those emotional abacuses that constantly totes up the slights and favors. Friends come, friends go. I often wondered if her only-child status would affect her social relations for better or ill, but they seem irrelevant. She has my father’s easygoing nature. Sociability for its own simple sake appears bred in the bones, with none of the annoying self-consciousness that follows me around and sits on my shoulders. She’s going to be fine.

Afterwards we went home; she colored while I put stuff away in the furnace room. Not as exciting as it sounds. Everything was taken out of the furnace room when it was painted, and I took the opportunity to perform some triage before the items were returned. There’s a big closet full of party goods, for example. Paper plates, plastic cutlery, plastic glasses. In case we suddenly are forced at gunpoint to mount a party. Of course, if we plan a party, I go out and buy more paper places, plastic cutlery, and glasses. I should throw the entire lot away, but what if? What if civilization collapses AND I have to host a buffet? While I labored I listened to the radio, and the station did not disappoint: top quality programming, and the usual technical incompetence. Ads are frequently dumped into the middle of the show; the satellite signal is lost six times a day, perhaps because someone goes out for a smoke and bumps the dish. During the Hewitt show today he came back from a break and got six words out before the station cut to a commercial, played the top-of-the-hour ID that precedes the news, and gave us two minutes of empty air. This I have come to expect, and tolerate; stuff happens. But lately they’ve introduced something new that smacks of a Forthcoming Trend, and it has to be stopped.

They’re dumping the station ID in the middle of the programming. The host or the caller or guest will be talking, and BOOM, there’s the station ID. You lose track of the conversation, you can’t hear what they’re saying. Great. Nice. Brilliant. It’s happened often enough that I conclude it’s intentional.

And thus are satellite radio customers born.

Anyway, here’s the pictures. Links open in new windows, since I want to tell small stories.

While I was driving around taking pictures, I saw a fellow walking around taking pictures. He was pointing at this, so I did the same. It’s the sort of view that would make no sense to anyone in a previous era.

Fire escapes are catnip to amateur photographers; I shot this one 20 times, always waiting for the right angle and the right light. Never got it, but this is close. I know: ho de fargin’ hum, so what.

Your standard brutal contrast: the ancient bricks vs. the modern conceit, engaged in some endless staredown.

The U of M Alumni Center. Or, more accurately, a giant stone beast that devours all who dare approach. This is the site of the old neoclassical stadium. It’s interesting. I hate it.

An apartment building by the U. I don’t know why this sight transfixed me so; it was just so messy in the foreground and perfect in the background. (I futzed with it for Extra Value Added Artistic Effect.) And across the street is this, which seems old and rather sad but simple and human.

Finally, the Birchwoods. I lived here once. I’d been told it was being prepped for demolition, but it turns out it’s being renovated. This makes me happy. Many stories live here. More about this place tomorrow, perhaps – now it’s back to work.

New Match as of Monday; Screedblog updated mid-afternoon daily this week; new Fence today. Enjoy, and I’ll see you tomorrow.

Perm link: here.

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