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What I'm reading now: 13 February 07

A ticket to the boneyard: I've read all the Matt Scudder series by Lawrence Block ages ago. (The most recent one was published in 2011, but the series more or less ended in 2005 with All the Flowers are Dying; 2011's A drop of the hard stuff is a flashback novel.) However, I've been spending too much time staring at a screen, and a copy of A ticket to the boneyard was sitting right there on my coffee table, so I reread it. I'm glad I did. Matt Scudder is an alcoholic in recovery, an ex-cop, and an unlicensed investigator. A call from "Cousin Frances" alerts him that an old enemy is back, and both Matt and "his women" are in danger. There are no women in his life, though, not really, so because of his enemy's twisted reasoning, no woman who crosses Matt's path is safe. As he tries to keep himself and everyone else out of harm's way, and remove his enemy from circulation, Matt struggles with the possibility that his best will not be good enough.

I found the story a little slow to get into, and certainly rather dark, but there's action, struggle, and suspense, and both the story's development and denoument are believable. If you like gritty noir and you haven't read any of the Scudder books, you're in for a treat. On the other hand, if you want a lighter touch, avoid Block's Scudder series and go straight to the comedic Burglar series instead.

(In unrelated news, the house concert was quite a bit of fun, and the general noise level was such that we could be heard, but our missed notes overlooked. Also, our hostess and third member of the trio built and played a Carronet: she took a power drill to a carrot to create a center bore and finger holes, attached a clarinet mouthpiece to it, and used it to play a basic blues number. Highly entertaining, and mostly in tune as well.)

Akron: 13 February 07: Is this what they call an existential moment?

So.

Just a few minutes ago, I was picking my way across the porch and down the (outside) steps from our second-floor apartment to the breezeway on the main floor, laundry basket in hand. It's full dark and has been since seven or so, and it's hovering somewhere just around freezing. My ankles are cold, but bearably so, and the rest of me is fine in jeans and a fleece. And as I'm stepping cautiously down the stairs and the motion sensor light kicks in as I hit the fourth stair from the bottom, I'm thinking about  the fact that I'll be doing this every week. Every week I'll be trekking down stairs to take care of the laundry, and it will get hot, and in summer I'll be wearing sandals and shorts and one of those sleeveless cotton blouses I'm already collecting for summer, and it will still be almost to hot to bear... and I find myself thinking "can someone remind me again: why am I here? and when can I go home?"

Then, of course, I collect the laundry, head back up the stairs, and join my sweetie in the living room, and the feeling passes.

(Spoiler: the answer to the second question is "just a little over seven and a half months from now.")

sample for testing

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What I'm (not) Reading Now: 13 January 25

Not reading a thing except occasionally some music. We're joining a co-worker to play some recorder trios at a house concert. She plays easily as well as I do, and certainly reads music better than I do... and yet, as far as I know, she's played recorder half a dozen times before. Ah, to have studied music with a major in woodwinds...

Anyway, we're playing a Tom Horn piece called Dancing Butterflies, an arrangement of a Robert Jones song called Farewell, dear Love, and our own version of In Thee is Gladness. Once we know the notes, we'll start having some real fun. And we'd better learn the notes soon, as the concert is a week from tomorrow.