Saturday, August 22, 2015

Well we made $42

And nobody even bought the big TV? *sigh* Then I took all the old books and CDs and DVDs to Half-Price Books, where I sold them and used the money to buy new (used) books to take home.

Most of the toys and stuff was dropped off at the St. Vincent De Paul Society store as a donation.  I don't think I'll be quitting my day job just yet but it's nice to have all that clutter gone and a couple extra bucks.

Plus for about two hours Mr F was my helper.  In between customers I'd tickle his head or we'd spin each other around in the street.

I'm not gonna lie to you I was about THIS CLOSE to going and finding a storage locker to bid on.

These two guys came by. Guy 1 had a beard-but-no-moustache, and guy 2 was a big guy with all kinds
of tattoos and a soul patch about 5" long.  So basically the kind of guys I assume are in a cult or something and I'm going to die. (That's how my mom raised me.)

Anyway, they bought a couple of cassettes and DVDs and then were looking at the little ceramic houses Mr Bunches used to get from the Dollar Store. "How much for the ceramics?" Soul Patch asked.

"Two for a quarter," I said.

He didn't buy any but then was telling me how he does this all day: he goes to rummage sales and he buys old storage lockers and he resells the stuff.  "The DVDs are for me," he said. "And I was going to get your Christmas stuff but I decided not to. If you put it on ebay though you could probably get $15 for a pair of houses."

Then he told me how he got an old fan that someone gave him a hundred buck for from one storage locker, and a bunch of stock certificates that were worth like $7000 from another one, and in one he said he found a bunch of old prescription bottles and in each was a piece of gold jewelry wrapped in tissue paper.

I'm starting to take it personally when people slow down, look as they drive by, and then speed up.

This is HIGH QUALITY STUFF. Where else could you get a car luggage carrier AND a tiny ceramic Xmas village all at one stop? Plus this thing that I don't remember buying but here it is in our house:

That is half price right now. So if you're in the area and need a freaky pink rabbit it's only a quarter.

I have made $14 so far

It's almost as if people don't WANT to buy the stuff I don't want anymore.

Scenes From My Garage Sale, 1

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Five: Five Poems I Read Wednesday Night (Poem 3)


When foxes eat the last gold grape,
And the last white antelope is killed,
I shall stop fighting and escape
Into a little house I'll build.

But first I'll shrink to fairy size,
With a whisper no one understands,
Making blind moons of all your eyes,
And muddy roads of all your hands.

And you may grope for me in vain
In hollows under the mangrove root,
Or where, in apple-scented rain,
The silver wasp-nests hang like fruit.

Elinor Wylie

 For me, the hollows under the mangrove root are a beach house, somewhere south of here. Far south of here.

Friday Five: Five Poems I Read Wednesday Night (poem 2)

I think what I like best about this one is how very unpoemlike it is, and also how it perfectly captures the terror of being a parent -- both the good and the bad of it.

The Very Nervous Family

Sabrina Orah Mark

Mr. Horowitz clutches a bag of dried apricots to his chest. Although the sun is shining, there will probably be a storm. Electricity will be lost. Possibly forever. When this happens the very nervous family will be the last to starve. Because of the apricots. “Unless," says Mrs. Horowitz, “the authorities confiscate the apricots.” Mr. Horowitz clutches the bag of dried apricots tighter. He should’ve bought two bags. One for the authorities and one for his very nervous family. Mrs. Horowitz would dead bolt the front door to keep the authorities out, but it is already bolted. Already dead. She doesn’t like that phrase. Dead bolt. It reminds her of getting shot before you even have a chance to run. “Everyone should have at least a chance to run," says Mrs. Horowitz. “Don’t you agree, Mr. Horowitz?” Mrs. Horowitz always refers to her husband as Mr. Horowitz should they ever one day become strangers to each other. Mr. Horowitz agrees. When the authorities come they should give the Horowitzs a chance to run before they shoot them for the apricots. Eli Horowitz, their very nervous son, rushes in with his knitting. “Do not rush," says Mr. Horowitz, “you will fall and you will die.” Eli wanted ice skates for his birthday. “We are not a family who ice skates!” shouts Mrs. Horowitz. She is not angry. She is a mother who simply does not wish to outlive her only son. Mrs. Horowitz gathers her very nervous son up in her arms, and gently explains that families who ice skate become the ice they slip on. The cracks they fall through. The frost that bites them. “We have survived this long to become our own demise?” asks Mrs. Horowitz. “No," whispers Eli, “we have not.” Mr. Horowitz removes one dried apricot from the bag and nervously begins to pet it when Mrs. Horowitz suddenly gasps. She thinks she may have forgotten to buy milk. Without milk they will choke on the apricots. Eli rushes to the freezer with his knitting. There is milk. The whole freezer is stuffed with milk. Eli removes a frozen half pint and glides it across the kitchen table. It is like the milk is skating. He wishes he were milk. Brave milk. He throws the half pint on the floor and stomps on it. Now the milk is crushed. Now the milk is dead. Now the Horowitzs are that much closer to choking. Mr. and Mrs. Horowitz are dumbfounded. Their very nervous son might be a maniac. He is eight. God is punishing them for being survivors. God has given them a maniac for a son. All they ask is that they not starve, and now their only son is killing milk. Who will marry their maniac? No one. Who will mother their grandchildren? There will be no grandchildren. All they ask is that there is something left of them when they are shot for the apricots, but now their only son is a maniac who will give them no grandchildren. Mr. Horowitz considers leaving Eli behind when he and Mrs. Horowitz run for their lives.

Friday Five: Five Poems I Read Wednesday Night (Poem 1)

I was reading an article and it linked to a poem and I went to read the poem and then I read a bunch more. Probably about 20. Here's five I liked. It's one per post; I'll put them up throughout the day or weekend or whatever.

Poem 1:

"Childhood is the Kingdom Where Nobody Dies"

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1937)

Childhood is not from birth to a certain age and at a certain age
The child is grown, and puts away childish things.
Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies.

Nobody that matters, that is. Distant relatives of course
Die, whom one never has seen or has seen for an hour,
And they gave one candy in a pink-and-green strip├ęd bag, or a
And went away, and cannot really be said to have lived at all.

And cats die. They lie on the floor and lash their tails,
And their reticent fur is suddenly all in motion
With fleas that one never knew were there,
Polished and brown, knowing all there is to know,
Trekking off into the living world.
You fetch a shoe-box, but it's much too small, because she won't
curl up now:
So you find a bigger box, and bury her in the yard, and weep.
But you do not wake up a month from then, two months
A year from then, two years, in the middle of the night
And weep, with your knuckles in your mouth, and say Oh, God!
Oh, God!
Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies that matters,
—mothers and fathers don't die.

And if you have said, "For heaven's sake, must you always be
kissing a person?"
Or, "I do wish to gracious you'd stop tapping on the window with
your thimble!"
Tomorrow, or even the day after tomorrow if you're busy having
Is plenty of time to say, "I'm sorry, mother."

To be grown up is to sit at the table with people who have died,
who neither listen nor speak;
Who do not drink their tea, though they always said
Tea was such a comfort.

Run down into the cellar and bring up the last jar of raspberries;
they are not tempted.
Flatter them, ask them what was it they said exactly
That time, to the bishop, or to the overseer, or to Mrs. Mason;
They are not taken in.
Shout at them, get red in the face, rise,
Drag them up out of their chairs by their stiff shoulders and shake
them and yell at them;
They are not startled, they are not even embarrassed; they slide
back into their chairs.

Your tea is cold now.
You drink it standing up,

And leave the house.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Discombobulated: A Primer

 "Hang on I'm all combobulated" I said and though I didn't mean to say it, and I actually meant the dis version of it, the comment to Sweetie as I tried to get ready to leave for the Milwaukee office the other day got me thinking about discombobulated.  So I went to learn more about it, and can share that with you:

-- Discombobulated has been a word since 1834.

-- Discombobulated was not even the original version of this word. The ORIGINAL version was discombobricate. Both words were 'fanciful' versions of discomfit.  In 1834, people had nothing better to do than sit around making up versions of words for other words nobody ever used.

-- Think about that the next time you complain about all the 'screen time' kids get these days, and then knock it off.  I would rather my kids stare at a phone all day than have to spend their time making up fake words, getting married at 8 and dying of typhus at 13.

-- The antonym of discombobulate is recombobulate. All of which suggests that combobulate, or some form of that word, is a thing.

-- It is not.  Combobulate is not a word.

-- Almost everyone says that the word began around 1834, but no source says how anyone knows that. This strikes me as the kind of thing that was just said one day and then everyone believed it, like that saying about how people only use 10% of their brains.  That, too, is not true. Most people don't use ANY of their brains, ha ha.  But seriously, we use more of our brains than that and also, I bet "discombobulate" was not first coined in 1834. I bet it was made up in like 1973 or something.

-- According to the Dictionary of American Regional English, discombobulate does not actually come from a 'fanciful' version of discomfit. Instead, the 'bob' part of it came from bobbery, which was a word meaning "uproar or confusion." As in "There was a lot of bobbery at the State Fair when that giant corn dog exploded."

-- The "potential" World's Largest Corn Dog was disappointingly small. It was just basically a big piece of bologna that was about the size of a guy's head. 

-- Isn't it kind of weird that everyone says that the word began around 1834 but not a single source I found could say why that is?

-- Really isn't it?

-- This site said the word "rose to fame on the popular sitcom Seinfeld." I have watched every Seinfeld ever and frequently have it on in the background while I work. I know Seinfeld pretty well. I even recognized that one comedian, the one who asked Jerry about his nostrils, as the guy Rachel borrows the cell phone from on Friends when she drunkenly calls Ross to say she is over him (only she's not really over him! SPOILER ALERT.) I don't recall anyone on Seinfeld using discombobulated.

-- And yet they did: In Season 3, "The Parking Space," there is this exchange:

Jerry: What did you do to my car?!
George: I couldn't help it! Elaine moved the mirror. I got discombobulated.
Elaine: Oh, like you've ever been "bobulated."

Which is weird because I always thought it was combobulated. But Elaine begs to differ!

-- In Jerry Seinfeld's Reddit AMA, he said that one of his plans had once been to be sympathetic to hecklers because it would discombobulate them.

-- So I think maybe Jerry Seinfeld made the word up.

-- There is a song called "Discombobulate," on the Sherlock Holmes soundtrack:


It kind of sounds like how it feels to be discombobulated, doesn't it?

Things I Do Not Get, 1

When I call a number on my cell phone, if I disconnect that call before the number picks up, my phone reverts to a screen that offers me the option of immediately calling that number right now again even though I just hung up on that number.

Why? WHY PHONE? Why would I want to call that number back RIGHT NOW? Why would that be the very next thing I wanted to do? It's like the phone thinks that was a test run.  *phew. OK. I can successfully dial the number.  All right. LET'S DO THIS.*

Sunday, August 16, 2015

10 Minutes About "Someone Is Killing The Great Chefs Of Europe"

Which is a book I am not actually reading right now, but not for lack of trying.

We went to the library on Saturday, as part 1 of a two-part activity. Part TWO was to go to the Splash Park, which is of course Mr F's favorite thing in the entire world, ahead of even Cheese Puffs:

but Mr Bunches hates the Splash Park, and has to go play on the playground while we are there, which he is ALSO not crazy about, since he tends to wilt in the sun and it was about 95 degrees out.

So the library was first, in order to make sure Mr Bunches, too, had something fun about the trip.  While we are at the library, I usually read a book or two with Mr F while Mr Bunches finds a new alphabet book to check out.  Mr F sometimes picks out a DVD or two to borrow, and we play in the reading room a bit.  I also wander around and look at books on display to see if there are any I might want to check out, electronically if possible because this is, after all, the future.

This Saturday, Mr F and I first stopped at the computer to check the catalog, because the book Someone Is Killing The Great Chefs Of Europe

had popped into my head.

I read this book once.  I am not sure when I read it.  I want to say I was about 16, which would mean I read the book in 1985.  The timing on that would work out, because the book itself was published sometime before 1978; I know that because there was a movie, Who Is Killing The Great Chefs Of Europe, made in 1978.

That is everything I know about this book, at this point: everything I can remember, at least.  I haven't gone and looked up anything else about it.  I didn't even remember who the author was (no big surprise there, for me at least.)

I figured this was perfect for the library. I had previously tried to borrow it from the online library, but there was no e-copy of the book.  (Odd, because there is a Kindle version of it on Amazon.)  So I was resigned to reading it in hard copy, but the library didn't even have that!  The only book the library had that came close was Someone Is Killing The Great Chefs Of America. It's by the same authors, which means that there is a series potentially, of books about killing chefs on various continents?

I know why the book popped into my head.  I was listening to the newest podcast I love, Mystery Show by Starlee Kine. On it, she solves mysteries for people.  Minor mysteries, like the one that made me think of chefs: a friend of hers had a belt buckle with an inscription on it, a really fancy belt buckle with a little working simulacra of a toaster, and Kine tracked down the chef it belonged to and gave it back to him, getting the story behind it. (The podcast is really really great. You should listen to it.)

That made me think of chefs, which made me remember reading this book, which made me look for it at the library.  Only it's not there.  So I have added it to my list of books to buy and keep. Heirloom books, books that I want in hard copy because they mean something to me, personally, and which I keep on a shelf to look at and (like Footfall) sometimes read.

Already off of that list I have bought, and have to keep forever:

Foucault's Pendulum, by Umberto Eco
A Prayer For Owen Meany, by John Irving.
Footfall, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.
The Last Of The Really Great Whangdoodles, by Julie Andrews.
Bridge To Terabithia, which I mentioned here a while back.

Still to buy:

The Master of Magics series by Lyndon Hardy: I've found books 2 and 3 in Milwaukee at a bookstore near my office but need to still buy them.

Stranger In A Strange Land.
The Mouse That Roared
The Hotel New Hampshire

among others, now joined by Someone Is Killing The Great Chefs Of Europe.

Maybe one day I'll do a memoir built around books that were important to me.

The thing about this book is it kind of bugs me that I can't remember a single thing about it, other than I read it, one time. I can't really remember how old I was, or why I might have read it, or how I even found out about it.  It doesn't seem like the kind of thing a teenage me would have read. I don't even like mysteries!

Like my memories of the book, the book itself barely seems to exist.  The cover image on Amazon is one of those blank placeholder covers.  The author page seems sketchy, like it was put together by bots.  There is no Wikipedia entry for the book or the authors (but there is for the movie, which also seems weird: books I think have a far greater tendency to make a lasting impact than movies).  The cover of the book on Goodreads is clearly a photo of an actual book taken by someone and posted there.  That's where it's listed as "Someone Is Killing #1" but when you click that link it just shows you a list consisting of solely that book.

When I first thought of the book, it was merely a curiosity.  I wanted to check it out to re-read it and see what had made me want to read it first, way back when, if I did.  But having found that the book's existence in this world is tenuous, at best, I now feel almost as if I need to save it.