Ugh. The roof blew off the gazebo today. Granted, it’s fabric, held in place by cheap Velcro strips, but still: to see it flapping helplessly in the wind as the first few flakes swirled down was enough to make me get out the breadknife and start sawing at my wrists. But then you’d have to put some towels down first. They’re all upstairs. And the wife just did them, too. So to hell with that.

The plants in the light-weight pots all fell over, and it looks like they threw up a gutload of dirt. Dead severed mums, everywhere. A good day to stay home. At least I got something done: cleaned out the paint cans from the storage area under the steps. The previous owners left a few cans behind, and if I’m to use the space as I envision, the cans must go. They must be put in the back of the Element and dropped off at the recycling center on the far side of a distant suburb. Or I could look in the phone book for “Creepy John’s Hauling” and pay some guy fifty bucks to do it; that would also relieve me of the thick wads of extra carpet left behind.  I say “Creepy John” because the last time I called a hauler, I got the fellow who looked like the man behind the diner in “Mulholland Falls,” or the fellow who shows up at the end of “Hellraiser” to take back the puzzlebox. Or a late-sixties British musician. Take your pick. Tall, gaunt, with one of those long black scary bogeyman beards. One of those rubbish haulers, anyway.

A wonderful word, rubbish. It’s so contemptuous.

Hold on, someone’s at the door.


It was the UPS guy with an Amazon box. I attempted to open it with a knife; the knife slipped and went into my thumb. It was a knuckle-part of the thumb and the knife was dull, so I don’t think it’s a stitches situation. Some Krazy Glue and duct tape ought to do it, if it insists on bleeding.

Yesterday was a rather busy day, and I feel inclined to take tonight off. So: a few pictures. Did I say I had a few cans? I have a few cans:

From a recent Target trip, another innovation in cleaning up the Realm of Stinking Filth And Scattered Curlies that is the American Bathroom; this one gets points for stating its innovative attributes up front, but I cannot imagine they ran it past a focus group. It pegs the EWWW meter:

Don’t make me think of stranger’s cast-off hairs or "messes" in need of powering out. Maw! Git the Scotch-Brite! I done sneezed while barfin' and shot off a mess a' groiny hairs!

The Noir last week was “On Dangerous Ground,” which started with great promise: Robert Ryan, a pure noir actor who was born six feel tall, smoking and wearing a hat, was a disillusioned cop who finds redemption in the wilderness. As soon as the movie left the city, it seemed to lose my interest. It’s hard to satisfy your appetite for neon reflecting off shiny black cars in the countryside. The score was by Bernard Herrman, who must have dashed it off at lunch, and it featured a Noble Kind Blind Woman who sees the good in our hero. So to speak. I don’t even remember if there was the obligatory let-me-feel-your-face scene. Quick! Put on a hockey mask! Tell her you were in a fire!

Anyway, there was a brief scene in a bar; the hero finds an underage patron, and tells her to beat it. She drips that strange mocking ooze d’amour a good noir B-gal needs:

Her name was Nina Talbot, and her last acting job was voice-over work on a Spider-Man cartoon in 1997. She also played "Lusti Weather" in a TV show called "Bourbon Street Beat." Imagine having that name and being truly interested in meteorology; no one would ever take you seriously. Until modern times, anyway; then you'd be the Pussy Galore of the Weather Channel.


A day of incompletion. Nothing was finished. The Diner is 93% finished. The paint closet project is 27% finished. The Quirk was 100% finished, but I wrote most of that last Saturday. Tried to compose two pieces and finished 19% of each. Started work again on a long-shelved project (yes, it's that) and finished but seven percent. At least I can finish this.

Oh, one more thing. Long time readers will know what this means to me: turns out Robert Ryan died before he could play the role of a lifetime - and believe me, if you know him and the role as well as I do, it's a tantalizing thought. He would have been perfect.


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c. 2006 j. lileks. Email, if you wish, may be sent to "first name at last name dot com."