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West Grand Avenue, Oakland.
January 9th, 2000

The Flu, Perhaps
Friday: For whatever reason, my horoscope, a couple of fortune cookies, both of them consumed after dinner this evening, and something I read on the side of a building coming home from work tonight have all instructed me to take it easy this weekend, duck social obligations and curl up with a book. "You are clearly overwhelmed by all of the socializing and the season." Right. Me. Socializing. Out there striking sparks and whoop-dee-doop.

Applying this advice, perhaps I should take the evening off and, I don't know, clean my desk and pay bills. I have many books and I suppose I could curl up with one of them, hug it close to me like a pillow and drift off, get up early tomorrow and do my shopping at the supermarket. I wouldn't actually have to read it, of course. I like horoscopes, but I'm selective. Tell me to go out to dinner at the Ritz and I'll go out to dinner at the Ritz if the Ritz sounds good or if you're buying, and well, why not? "Pisces, plaster, er, master thyself!" OK! OK! They say the first fifty years are the hardest. I hope they're right.

What am I saying? Friday night, dark out, no desire to drive anywhere to see a movie. I need to buy another color television set with a proper size screen and rent some nice mind numbing videos. Yet I say this and I say this right here on the screen and it doesn't all just magically happen! I have money in the mad money account, not a lot, but enough to buy a television set certainly so why not just go out and get one and stop this interminable carping? Lack of interest, lack of desire, lack of something. Have I become that much of a hermit? Have dinner at the Ritz indeed. Which Ritz? What dinner? I go on. Stop.

That was Friday, this is Sunday. The paragraphs above were some thoughts to get me going Building support column on Broadway in the early evening while the news was playing, just some rough thoughts and sentences that I would edit later and then I decided to take a break and scan a photograph (which I had great trouble finding as I'm all out of photographs) and discovered the computer couldn't find the film scanner and well, hell, that was it. Normally I'd just reboot and fiddle with the SCSI cables and burn some incense before the Intel Buddha (semiconductor silicon) Shrine, but I decided against it. Not sure what I was thinking, the riff with the book was just a riff without any particular reality behind it. I thought. The fortune cookies and the horoscope were real enough and I was thinking of taking it, well, somewhere comprehensible when I just stopped. A weekend suddenly loomed before me where I might actually do what people do on weekends: laundry and acquiring an automatic kitty litter box. Excitement arose in my breast. I went to bed. Without a book. And slept.

Saturday I went out and rented three movies to play on my black and white television set at a Blockbuster I'd discovered near Lake Merritt: The Blair Witch Project, Shakespeare In Love and Better Than Chocolate which turns out not to be the Chocolate I was thinking about.

Blair: Interesting movie for a movie with a $40,000 budget. I liked the way the characters got all weird and angry, you assume due to the influence of the "witch". Maybe we shouldn't, you know, push old Marty too hard right now, witches notwithstanding. Nice. Why people waited in long lines day after day in Berkeley to see it, I'm not sure. I guess it was that way everywhere. If I wanted to make movies or I was just someone especially interested in movies (read goes to see movies alone and thinks nothing of it), I'd want to see Blair Witch. What kind of movie, after all, combined with the right sort of hype can make so many millions? A kind you or I could make? I dunno. You've already got an opinion on this because I am the last person in the world to see it.

Chocolate: Better Than Chocolate turned out to be a La Cage Aux Folles-esque treatment of young lesbians making it and then breaking it to mother. I'm trying to think how I would categorize this movie without the vaguely controversial lesbian aspect. Nudity without sex. What's a good example of nudity without sex, violence without violence, cute without cute? Or too cute? I'm stumped. Beaver Cleaver meets Bambi who meets Bambi who meets Bambi's mother. Like that. Maybe it was just I was in the mood for Bambi meets Godzilla (meets Bambi). I'm not sure. All this in black and white after The Blair Witch Project.

Shakespeare: Oh dear, I'm too old for Romeo and Juliet. Well, maybe not. You can't A number in the parking lot across the street from Number 15. beat the dialogue: "But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun." Yes, my son, Juliet is the sun. Have I ever in my life thought of a woman as the sun? Oh, sure. More than once. I hope all of us, if you dig down deep enough into the underground cavern where yesterday's toys are kept, under the skin and the bones and the furled brows, will find a portrait of Juliet, propped in a corner, perhaps, but nicely propped: dusty and musty maybe but not, but absolutely not, forgotten. Hi, ho. The movie was cute. Dear Will. Dear Juliet. I do not read Shakespeare in the evenings, concentrating on the ancient texts, gazing occasionally into the distance before returning to the page, pressing away the single tear, but, oh, I don't know, Juliet, you can't knock Romeo and Juliet. One of those movies you have to see even when you really don't.

Mr. Wuss has been leaking again these last few days and I'm going to call the vet tomorrow, round stains on the chairs and, I now see, small spots on the rug as I'm sitting here inhaling the sour aroma thereof. Shit. I mean, piss. This is not altogether good. The new automatic kitty litter machine is working like clockwork in the kitchen and Wuss seems to have adopted it without comment and he's pissing in it, not hard to tell from the clumps, but he's pissing on everything else as well and it's very clear he can't help it. If its the crystals again, I'm going to switch him over full time no exceptions to the special cat food (assuming the vet agrees) and see if he doesn't settle out. Right now he's bugging the shit out of me because he wants to be fed another can of the regular cat food. Weird vet food in the mornings, regular cat food in the evenings. Maybe its the wrong kind of regular cat food. Maybe the vet actually meant Friskies when he said Friskies, not some cute generic term for cat swill in a can. Maybe this is a foretaste of what is to come. Don't know. Have a headache. Maybe it's gotten into the keyboard. Symptoms of the flu, perhaps.

The banner photograph was taken on the way to work. An attempt at one of Rien's numbers. The weird little diagram on the post was taken in December. I was thinking "New Millennium", but who knows? Revelations 3:20-22. All these books and no bible. The number 14 is an afterthought.