Not to ruin the illusion of topicality or anything, but it’s noon on Sunday right now. I’m doing this now because I’ve too much to do tonight, and it’s possible I will fall face first into bed at some ridiculously early hour like 11 PM. I was up late last night; Wife is on a business trip and Gnat was on a sleepover. Since I had the house to myself I decided to do the one thing I can’t do when there are people about, and that’s play music, loud, late. Or rather make it. After the last few days of “vacation” – all of which was spent working – it was a pleasure to do something that didn’t count for anything. Although how much everything else counts for, to write a tortured sentence,  I’m not exactly sure.

By the time I was done it was midnight; I sat outside in the gazebo, listening to the Oak Island Water Feature plosh away, writing various things until 1:30, and then I tried to watch some TV. I seem to have lost the knack. Couldn’t concentrate – and when you can’t be dulled by the awesome anesthetizing power of television, you know your brain is racing too fast. I tried to watch the new “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” but just like last year, everything I used to love about the show now seems highly annoying. No one has yet explained why Richard Lewis looks like a black sack of coathangers, either.

This season the Davids have to find a new house; the laws of the city in which he lives forbid shooting in one house longer than a year, so every year the show takes place in a different house.  I think. Read that somewhere. To explain the move there’s a fire, because Larry had disconnected a smoke alarm that wouldn’t stop emitting the low-battery beep. But it was a hard-wired smoke alarm. Do they have batteries? I question the premise.

Yes, there I was at 2:30 AM, questioning the premise.

Went to bed and woke 5 hrs 45 mn later when Gnat came home from her sleepover. So I’m groggly and schmozzled. On the other hand it’s warm and kind today, an unbelievable start to Fall: huzzah and all that.  

My wife thinks Jasper isn’t feeling well. It’s hard to tell with a dog, sometimes; the infirmities of age can be shrouded. She thinks he lacks his usual spark, and in that sense she’s right – no longer is he on alert all day, trotting around, keen to see what falls on the floor or what passes by the house. How long has it been since I’ve seen him on the radiator cover, looking out the window, surveying his domain? A week, perhaps. Two. Means nothing. Yes, he needed help to get up on the bed last night, but he’s needed help for months. At first it was sad; now it’s routine. He puts his paws up on the bed and waits. I give him a boost. He settles down with a sigh, the day truly done. But I know if he heard the sound of a plate clanking in the microwave – the sound of PIZZA, the most high holy food – I’d hear him lumber off the bed and click downstairs. His hearing may be going, but he’d hear that. When he sat beside me looking up, waiting for his portion, his eyes would be as bright as ever.

Well, as bright as they’ve been the last year or so.

Old? Yes. And slow. But still game. My wife took him for a walk yesterday, and the jangle of the chain and the promise of an outing brought out all the usual excitement. He sat in the creek and cooled off; he wanted to go farther; when he got home he bolted to the back door and demanded the Frosty Paw, the treat that always follows a good long walk. He paid for it all later with sore bones. Going up the stairs was work. Not hard work, but work. I just hope his nose still works. A dog without a nose is like a human with Alzehiemer’s.

Saturday afternoon I spent an hour and a half sitting outside in the lovely weather, removing spam from like a chimp picking nits. It’s like this: there’s a queue of comments from unregistered visitors, waiting for me to approve them or delete them. Each screen has 50 comments. Each comment has a check box. So if I have 50 spams, I make 50 checks, one at a time, then scroll to the top to hit DELETE, then scroll to the bottom of the next screed to confirm. When the bots really slam the site they hit every message thread, and the bottom of the page will list the number of pages with unapproved comments. Saturday it was 9, the maximum number that can be displayed. When you clear a screen and the bottom of the page says there are still 9 pages to go, it usually means there’s more than 9. Saturday it was about 36 pages. That’s about 1800 spam messages, which means 1800 clicks.

There was one moment of levity. I ran a “guilty pleasures” song thread a few days ago, and people often put their favorite bad song in the subject field. After clicking through 1000 + luridly titled porn spams you can understand why, at first, I instinctively put into the delete queue a comment whose subject referred to a song by Dexy’s Midnight Runners. Never thought it that way before.


Sunday night we went to – well, you guess:

Gnat had a good night. She landed a token on Spongebob, which meant 50 tickets. Gamble, my child! Gamble! Bend to the whims of Dame Fortune! She played the Yo-Yoo game, where you strike a button with a mallet to make a weighted ball revolve  - the object is to get the ball revolve a certain number of times, with your score base on the proximity of the number of revolutions to a preordained target number. Got it? My target was 25, and I hit it too hard; I got 47 revolutions. Her target was 36, and she got 36 revolutions: 65 tickets. Then she played skeeball, and had a hot hand; fifty tickets there as well.

“I’m lucky today,” she said.

“Actually, it’s skill.” I said. “What we call luck is just random chance. Skill is talent.”

She didn’t quite get what I mean, and I could tell she preferred to think of herself as lucky. Well, I suppose she is. 

The joint was hot – several birthday parties and, God Help Us, a wedding party. We did not play this game:


Good to know they’re keeping a tight leash on the name of St. Elvis; no chance of debasing the brand here. When we walked outside we beheld a wondrous sight:


I’ve never seen this, not that I can remember. I’ve seen it in illustrations, but never in the real world. A perfect end to the day . . . which I spoiled by going through the adjacent drive-thru for a burger. I asked for packets of ketchup, mustard, salt, and pepper. Your basics. It’s not like I asked for grey fargin’ poupon. I got 16 packets of ketchup, and nine packets of mustard. No salt; no pepper.  There were no other cars in line. There had been no other cars before me. Yea, it rankled. Good thing I checked. I might have driven off without pepper. And then where would we be?

Then I remembered:

Right. There's that. There's always that, in some form, somewhere. Imagine standing on a battlefield in ancient times the night before a fight, wondering if that’s an omen for you, or for him.

Tomorrow: the daughter of an astronaut punches out a 1970 eco-hippie cartoonist. Don’t miss it! New Match - hit the link on the left, that's why I spend time Friday night crafting the fargin' rollovers - and of course throughout the day. The piece of "music" I wrote Saturday is here, off the new Bleatophany page; it's called "Orchestral Maneuvers in the Bush," because some of the synth sounds reminded me of OMD, and some of the percussion elements were African. There's not an original idea in the entire thing, and the mix is horrible. But it was a great way to spend a Saturday night. Have a fine Monday!