This weekend we were to host friends from California. These days, though, airlines are as skittish as mustangs being tamed to saddle. Their airline called and announced that through a series of flight realignments and route abandonments, their simple three hour trip here would stop in Denver and turn into a multiple-hour trip. Our friends opted out. I'm disappointed, a bit, because we were going to ride the DART rail to the zoo with their toddlin' child, but this is the way the flight plan deviates these days.
Last night, we ate grilled grouper and were just luxuriating in the very late evening, when the telephone rang. My wife's high school classmates were on the line. She had had to bow out of her 25th high school reunion because of our company coming. The members of her class called her to wish her an individual "we miss you". After she rang off, I remembered that we had a frequent flier coupon, and suggested that she head on up. and join in the Saturday festivities. My own high school class would have been about as likely to call me under similar circumstances as to appoint Curious George as the official sponsor of the class reunion Southwest Airlines is as convenient as a bus service here in Dallas, and they could get her one-hopping to KC first thing this morning. I am thus doing the bachelor thing this weekend.
After seeing my wife off this morning, I went back to sleep, and slept until 10:30, which is very unlike me. The toll of travel and insomnia combined to change my usual restfulness. I went to Petco to get dogfood, but for some reason got the tiny kibble instead of the normal size. I hope my dogs don't mind having bite-sized morsels. Then I headed into my office, where I got two things done I was glad to get done.
On my way back home, I passed signs for an estate sale. I had just today read nacowafer's description of estate sale shopping, so I determined to stop in (for that matter, almost any weekend day after work I pass such a sign, I am apt to stop in). I got a nice book about cacti and something I intend to ship off to a friend, both for less than the cost of the kind of McDonald's meal I no longer eat. The pricing was inconsistent, with some things way overpriced and some things way underpriced, but I had only a few dollars, so I picked out only the essential things. I ate bbq chicken at Spring Creek barbecue, reading a copy of the magazine "Aquarium Fish" I got at the pet store. Ah, the endless folly of man--thousands of freshwater species perfectly happy in the aquarium environment,and they're still hunting out new Amazon fish and ripping up corals for saltwater tanks.
I came home and had some fun writing silly ad copy for the box of 8 track tapes I put up for sale on ebay, bought at a church rummage sale a few weeks ago. The titles of the tapes are so kitschy/wonderful. There's "Happy Organ--the Best of Hawaii" and "Robert Goulet's Wonderful World of Christmas", among other largely holiday gems. Writing silly ebay ad copy to sell things I bought for a dollar somehow amuses the secret Anita Roddick in me.
As I was playing on the internet, my brother IM'd me that my 9 year old nephew was racking up a 4.5 out of 5 at an Allen scholastic chess tournament. My nephew has improved his chess by leaps and bounds in recent months. He wanted me to come over and play him, so that he could benchmark his strength. I took over a belated birthday gift for him, the Lazlo Polgar 5300 chess problems book which I got on ebay from calaf. Mr. Polgar raised the incredible Polgar sisters, chess geniuses all, including Judit Polgar, who is roughly 10th in the world among players of either gender. I hoped that my nephew would similarly benefit from studying checkmates and tactics. The form book says study endgames and mates, but I always erred by studying instead the arcane delights of the chess opening. I was just this week reading 1...PQN3, an old Chess Digest booklet of 30 pages, but as I intend to write a separate Chess Digest post soon, I'll just mention that my own chess training regimen was always gimmicky and based on my fundamental, quirky, "defend first, and blockade the position as much as possible" approach to the game. As I told my wife, I have not lost strength even though I'm past peak chess age, because I've always played like an eccentric old man. My nephew, if he studies, will be a much stronger player.
We ate dinner at Two Rows, my brother and I feigning mock alarm and alarum with the cute 20ish waitress about the lack of 1,000 islands dressing (and my older nephew winningly suggesting 500 islands as a compromise). I don't like salad dressing, much less 1,000 islands, but I like to see a waitress smile. I had something called a "hickory burger" with borracho beans.
My older nephew, now 15, writes poetry. I asked him to put in an entry for my mail poetry call, "Infinite Space, Tiny Apartment". I've been getting a trickle of entries to this call, but I wanted to add his contribution. We all discussed how this year's yearbook at his high school contained his answer to a question put to him about what was his favorite novel. He answered that a fantasy novel named "Kaldar" was his favorite. He did not explain to his interviewer, though, that "Kaldar" is a novel not yet in existence, which my nephew intends to one day write. That is almost exactly the sort of thing I would have said at 15. I remember for my own 10th high school reunion, they mailed us a particularly silly questionaire, done on bad mimeograph. One question was "name the most exciting place you've visited". My literal answer would probably have been someplace overseas, but I chose instead Sulphur, Oklahoma for my answer out of mild sarcasm. They duly put it in the reunion bulletin, as the compilers did not know I was joking.
My older nephew took the kids' menu and enscribed a work of poetry, which he mailed to me tonight (it is a mail poetry call, after all). He advises that his mail art pen name, by the way, will be "Kaldar Mossflower".
We headed to my brother's house, where I dispatched my younger nephew handily at chess. My passivity at chess has just enough aggression in it to allow me to head off a hyper-aggressive player. As with so many things in life, I rely on boring opponents to death.
My brother and sister-in-law and their two sons then sat down with me to play a card game called "Munchkin" I'd never played before. As is often the case with their gaming ways, the game is a simplified sort of D & D derivative. I am fairly fluid at D & D, in which I am always an accidental tourist rather than a true quest member, but during games such as "Munchkin", I always feel there are 173 rules I don't know, which spring up and take my most powerful cards just at my moment of personal gratification. All the metaphors I think of here are either inappropriately humorous or merely inappropriate, so I'll just say that despite a transmogrification from an orc wizard to a halfling thief did not prevent me from essentially being level one with only a power card for magic shoes that ward off curses. Unusually, I was wearing Teva sandals today, so maybe life and art imitate one another.
My wife called from KC to say she is having a blast, so that is going well. I am a bit tired tonight, and sorry that I did not get any exercise today. I will make up for it tomorrow.
I am torn between a quiet neighborhood time, a trip to McKinney's third Monday flea market, a trip to Park Hill Praire to hike and fish and a trip to Lake Ray Roberts, where they have endemic zebra longwing butterflies.
But now I must sleep, and perchance dream. I loved how my poll showed so many of us who answered have dreamed of an LJ friend, and so many of us who answered have met someone they "first met" through LJ. Of course, in my case, I met someone through nanowrimo who ended up having an LJ, so I'm not sure I answered my own poll correctly. I wish I could meet so many people, but tonight I think especially of meeting asphalteden. His new ambient_review is really a well-done guide to ambient sound.
But right now I have that "so long, farewell, auf wiedersehn, goodnight" trapped in a musical sleepy feeling.