1. The people in Riverside gather together for an annual ceremony that essentially involves some random guy hitting a light switch. That and a few fireworks. Was actually quieted by a suburban mother when I mentioned that the North Pole had recently signed GATT and had been employing elves as slave labor. Her two year old scion, who could not have been cognizant enough to understand me, was apparently risking being “corrupted” in her words. Sometimes I have a big mouth.
2. Never underestimate the incredible devices that can be found at Toys R Us. Recent acquisition (nothing purchased on Buy Nothing Day, mind you): a Jeopardy machine that includes three remote buzzers. Ideal for lying on a setee in a lazy position and trying to remember the capital of Kazakhstan. The machine’s cmphasis on literature questions has frustrated certain family members, who have proclaimed an unfair bias in my favor. Although I have not been answering every question in an effort to keep things fair. Total cost of machine: $5.00.
3. Also never underestimate the books that can be found in used bookstores. For a mere $6.00, a mint copy of Terry Southern’s Candy — one of the few novels of his I haven’t yet read.
4. I am astonished at the amount of driving that is done down here. I’m used to walking places.
5. Walk the Line: Enjoyable biopic, largely because of the way Cash’s music exists as a character between silent moments. Joaquin Phoenix, whom I have never really been a big fan of, finds a good balance between finding his own take on Cash and remaining tortured without another over-the-top Gladiator-style performance. Even if they diluted the inmates’ wild roars during the At Folsom Prison sequence, Joe Bob says check it out.
6. Thanksgiving food loses its appeal after precisely 62 hours. It never lasts the full three day test. Doesn’t mean it isn’t tasty all the time until then.
7. I have managed to read about 250 pages. Which means, I suppose, that I’m taking this vacation thing somewhat seriously.
8. Also don’t underestimate the Santa Ana Winds.
9. I played tennis for the first time in three years and am seriously considering this as a sport I might be able to take up (read: something I can likely sweat severely over while retaining that sense of having shed calories and meeting an appropriate level of physical exertion which causes my arms and legs to be quite fantastically sore). It was worth it to run after the ball — in large part, because there was always a chance that I could do something even when running dramatically from one side of the court to the other. I didn’t hit the balls over the wall as many times as I expected to and I even managed to effect a little spin upon my returns. The thing that worries me about taking up tennis in San Francisco is that there are probably a good deal of tennis players who will trounce me even if they play easy with me. Perhaps tennis lessons are in order.
10. Suppose I should sleep.