Okay, don’t buy the book, after all. I have to take it out of Amazon and redo it, because despite going over it three times with a comb of fine teeth and eyeballing thrice on a speedy scroll-thru, it’s still wonky in spots.

This will not happen with the next book, which is formatted to perfection, but gah. Anyway. Sorry. At least I’m not alone; I’ve been reading the SPQR series on Kindle, and it was scanned and OCRd by robot monkeys. Still liked it, though.

One more damned thing this week, which is six kinds of heck. Not hell: heck. It’s easier to deal with a half-dozen heck-kinds than three big flaming hells. What follows below is a mild account of the happier moments of the day, which have virtually nothing to do with the actual hellzapoppin. Relatively speaking. Life is good and the world is green, so there’s that.

But there’s the constant, omnipresent suggestion that I need to log on to a website and tell them how their bread was. I bought some bread today, and of course the seven-inch receipt had a CODE and an URL and a CONTEST and a begging plea to tell them how they did. Based on my recent Topper Scares remarks, you might think I relish every opportunity to tell them just what I think, but no: it’s rare. I bought a fargin’ baguette. That’s it. There’s nothing more to be said. The counter-help was helpful. The bread was bready. The coffee was okay. What can you do to make my next purchase of coffee and bread better? A Dixieland quartet that plays 12 bars of energetic jazz while I sign my name on the receipt, but only 12, because I tire of Dixieland quite easily.

What’s more, dear bread company: I will not like you on Facebook. It is a meaningless act, an empty gesture, and I could not care less if it means I miss out on upcoming deals and events - why, if I find myself in your store unable to get ten percent off a purchase of a dozen bagels during BagelFest ’12 I can live with the sorrow. I will not follow you on Twitter because you have nothing to say. I will not check in on Foursquare because no one cares if I am the deputy sub-commissioner for a place that wants everyone to experience Salad Summer with new sesame-chicken stripes and pita strips. Burger King does this as well, and I remember looking at receipts that told me I’d get a code for a free hamburger if I just filled out the got-damned survey, and even then I thought “no” because A) I would lose the code, B) it would be an exercise in futility, because my complaints would be things like “staff consists of the kind of people who treat customers with rote contempt but then get all oh-no-you-did-nt when they get the same attitude when they’re a customer, and C) really? I tell you that the food was like eating a wad of woodchips soaked in beef bouillon, and this is a surprise to you?

At least the clerk didn’t circle the code with a red marker, which is humiliating for everyone. Her, because she has to do it. Me, because I have to pretend that I might just call it up.


We got the dog a new bed, so he could sleep on something softer than the rug. Wife wonders whether sleeping on the floor makes his joints worse. She notes the incremental slowdowns more than I do, partly because she looks for them - wondering how much he has left, how his days are going. (Literally.) I mark the moments of enthusiasm and vivacity, the way he always comes to life at suppertime and wants to eat our food, how he stands at the back door and BARKS demands to be let outside. He doesn’t do much else. The days of sitting on the shelf above the register by the window and looking out at the world are long gone, the effortless jump made impossible by infirmity.

Not sure how much he would see if he got up there; the world is tenebrous and quiet for him now. It still smells as good as ever, as far as I can tell. He can see shapes - when I point at something on the floor, he looks. If the light’s good. When he goes down the ramp on the back steps, though, he peers, and hesitates, uncertain where it goes. If it goes at all.

I bought him a pillow, but he rarely used it. The new bed is a mat, and gives much more support. So, naturally he sleeps next to it.


Off to the mall late this afternoon to take my daughter to swim class. Just like last summer. It’s good to feel as if that was, in fact, a year ago. I’d been eager to see how the mall changed - it's is one of those sad places that lost its cachet and drifted into that valium-vacant state where the tenants are few and the shoppers are fewer but it still pretends it's a vital destination. It has a strip-mall attached that feels like someone grafted an extra limb on its sternum. (One of the reviews online calls it a “chopy setup.” Also describes the strip-mall portion as an “antourage.”)

Not changed.


There's still a DRESS BARN, aimed at women who want to be reminded of horses and hay. There was an AVENUE; the window was full of Going Out of Business signs.

Now at a bread store, having a cup of coffee. Later I will go to a coffee store and buy some bread. At the adjacent table a fellow is selling a new Macbook to a middle-aged woman. It is “upgraded” and has a “unibody construction.” She nods. He says it comes with Word. “If you buy a $2000 computer at the Apple store, it does not have something that write a Word document.” But this one does! All at a low low price those fat cats in Cupertino don’t like!

I’m just waiting for some obvious scam words, but the guy seems legit. Needs some work on his walk-through skills, though. I wouldn’t start the sales pitch by setting up a new user account, unless you want to take attention from the fact that there’s already an existing account. You know, the admin account.

“As you can see Word loads up quick . . . the keyboard lights up.”

Now showing her Launchpad; the thing is also loaded with Adobe Creative Suite 5. He says he’s setting up a company to handle this sort of thing, which - as far as I can tell - is selling people Macbooks with preinstalled software.

Annnd she just gave him a check. Wonder what she paid. Am I just being a busybody here? He also offered to sell her a cracked iPhone, if she wants. Ah - mentioned his email address. Gmail account. Totally legit business!

Well, here’s the thing. If someone buys a computer that normally retails for $2100, and gets it for the same price or less, and it has $1200 bucks worth of software on it, they know it’s dodgy.. But they tell themselves he got a deal. He knew someone. Maybe he bought in bulk. It's all above-board, and that's why you're buying a computer from a guy in a coffee shop. Who doesn't have the original box.

The one thing that was missing in the entire spiel, as far as I could tell? The admin password.

Later: We took a walk. He stopped to smell the flowers.




Seventeen and a half next month.



New comic sins, and all the rest of the stuff.







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