Jasperwood, Sept. 27

Ah, the compensations of Autumn. Today was cold – it began with a mean peevish rain. By noon the rain had stopped but we took umbrellas to the bus stop, since the slightest breeze through the trees dumped latecomer drops on our heads. After Gnat clambered on the bus I went home to clean up, then figured I’d best head into the office. I miss my old desk. The old one was cozy and I liked where I was: away from everything. On the other hand, now I’m near the guy who reviews DVDs, so we can talk about vital matters to the republic like the quality of extras on the Season Two “Crime Story” compilation. I wrote a little, laughed a little, loved a little, etc. Went up to the cafeteria to write some Joe. Same coolant tower outside the window, same brilllo-pad clouds that scoured the sky last March when I was working on this very project. Mood: bleak.

But the sun was out when I left. I drove home listening to a Marlowe radio show – the usual corpse-and-concussion tale – and went to yet another Dunn Brothers Coffee Shop, this one nearer to my house. The clientele was different than the burban locations I’ve been haunting, and different that the one downtown I frequent on weekends; older thinner greyer, more granola-and-sandals. The staff was monumentally indifferent. It’s a cool intersection, really, one of those places that reminds me why I live in the city. One corner has an antique store and an upscale chemise-and-geegaw boutique, a pizza place and a make-your-own-dishes store; the other corner has a new three-story condo unit with retail on the bottom floor, including a spa implausibly devoted to eyebrows; next to it, more antique stores. Holding down the southwest corner: LAMPSHADES. For all your lampshade needs. Then the coffee shop and a Laundromat with a sign from the 60s, showing an Atlas-type figure shouldering a bin of compacted stinkables. The fourth corner is occupied by a Firestone tire outlet, and I’m sure everyone would love for it to go under so another condo / antique / coffeeshop / underarm depilllatory spa could be built on the spot. Here’s what I love: ten blocks to the west, there’s another commercial node. Ten blocks to the east, another; ten blocks east of that, another, each with their own character and charm and purpose, each the result of a streetcar stop abandoned 50 years ago. Once there were drugstores and butchers and four-aisle grocers; now they’re all lifestyl-enhancement distrubution centers. It’s the ideal of the workable sustainable smart-density city: you can walk and get everything you don’t need. It goes without saying that everyone drives, and parking is hell.

Picked Gnat up. The sun was out, and I noticed that between yesterday and today, a quarter of the trees had made the turn. Add the brisk wind whipping my tie in my face, the slant of the sun, the scuttering leaves in the gutter, and it was instant Autumn. Tonight I went outside for the eight o’clock cigar and a glass of wine (no snob me; Yellow Tail Shiraz) and I not only heard the distant sound of the announcer at the high school football stadium, I caught a whiff of that Most Holy Autumn Aroma, the Bonfire. It’s been such a magnificent month I’ve not paid much attention to the approach of Autumn at all; when it’s warm and green, Autumn is a rumor at best and a muttered threat at worst. But now it’s here, and we’ve all made the turn. I wore a coat on the dog walk. A brown coat. The Time of Brown is upon us.

Note: I hate brown. Except for now.

Signed up with Technorati to claim my blog, lest others claim it for me. You might have noted that I don’t do a lot of blog-savvy stuff – no trackbacks or RSS feeds (yet) or blogrolls or “Carnival Of” entries. I have nothing against them; it’s just one of those many, many things I don’t get around to. Anyway. I looked at my ranking, which is never a good idea; start to worry about these things, and you wonder what you’re doing wrong or right. It’s why I don’t check my stats in general. But now I’m annoyed. I am one position behind Will Wheaton. Nothing against Will – I don’t blame him at all for Wesley Crusher, and while I do not share many of his opinions, I appreciate his brio and his small video-game reviews in the Onion and wish him well in his acting endeavors. But dang, people. Tied I can accept. Ten below I can accept. One below is the sort of thing that just rankles.

I suppose this is an old web joke, but be careful when you type in the address you expect to be correct for Wesley Crusher.

And now I’m done; two small additions. The Screedblog has this week’s column on the antiwar protestors, and if you’re already annoyed by the thought of what I possible had to say about that, well, there’s new old Joe Ohio. As noted, I’m rewriting the first 12 installments for the proposal, and I’m trying to be true to the original idea – meaning, I can’t rewrite them to reflect what I know about the plot, such as it is. I’m mostly fleshing out details. Compare and contrast. The original second installment is here. The revised installment is here, and the entire site is up again.

Also a new Fence. Thanks for your patronage and indulgence, and we’ll see you tomorrow.

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