November 2005

The weekend agenda went as expected except for a surprise Saturday morning visit to campus by the Sleeptalker.

He looked sinfully handsome, good haircut, new tee shirt and shorts, black Nike shoes with white socks. (I told him I missed seeing his toes.) New backpack, too, which had a pack of cigarettes in it, among other things including a Bible with the smallest print I've ever seen in a book. He pulled it out at one point and read for a few minutes. He's in the book of Susannah. I wondered if he'd read everything before that. I remember the famous painting of "Susannah and the Elders", but remember nothing about the story.

So he has either been working or has a (generous) new patron.

The hour of Jerome Kern songs perfectly echoed the time with him.

And when I told them how wonderful you are,
they wouldn't believe me, they wouldn't believe me ...


And, of course ... Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly
I gotta love one man till I die


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Electrical storms are very rare here, but there was a splendid one just after sunset on Tuesday. Out over the ocean, so I had a front row seat at the mall. Mostly flash lightning, but occasionally there was a beautiful and dramatic streak. It did not, as usual, go from the clouds to the surface, but was horizontal between two clouds. I've never seen that before.

The Sleeptalker slept at the Dark Corner on Monday and Tuesday nights. He fully justified his nickname. I am always amazed by how his sleeping voice is totally unlike any of his waking voices.

He has finished Susannah and gave me his version of the story. I suppose I should re-read the thing. Rape and a murder by an angel?

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Can she bake a cherry pie, Billy boy, Billy boy,
can she bake a cherry pie, charming Billy?


Who knows why the wretched Earworm dragged that old song out of the archives, but I went along with it, bought a slice of cherry pie. I've been trying to counteract the lethargy by increasing calories consumed, hoping that will give me more energy. It seems to be working, at least a little. So early each morning I have a pint or half-pint of milk with a slice of pie. Hooray for foodstamps.

I didn't go online at all during the three-day holiday weekend, was instead deeply engrossed in the massive epic, Otherland, by Tad Williams. Such ambition, such splendid imagination. I had the first two volumes, have to wait until after Third Wednesday to search for volumes three and four.

While waiting, I read Blood and Gold by Anne Rice, now also have to search for Blackwood Farm which might be the last of the Vampire Chronicles. She has reportedly gotten religion and is at work on a three volume novel based on the life of Jesus. I wonder if she'll make him as fascinating a character as her Lestat?

I did take a break between volumes one and two of Otherland to listen to the broadcast of Porgy and Bess from the Washington National Opera. I love bits from the work but am not all that fond of it in its entireity, would much prefer Broadway singers than this kind of full-blown grand opera version. Either way, fish are jumpin' ...

After the two nights of the Sleeptalker's presence, I've had the Dark Corner to myself except for a brief visit he made in the early hours of Friday. He had been at the pipe again and yet again was ranting about his mother and Angelo, fretting now that they are in some kind of conspiracy against him. (I doubt they've ever even met.) I said, "you're tweaking again, go to sleep." He did lie down for a little while, but then got up and left. I don't want to think about what he did in downtown Honolulu at 2:30 in the morning.

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Hit with a double whammy on Third Wednesday. When I walked into the mailbox place the kindly woman there said, "I have a question for you." "Yes?" "Why haven't I had any money from you?" "Because I haven't had a bill." She grumbled about her young assistant who must have goofed, but when she checked my box, the bill was there, had been overlooked at least twice. Wonderful. So I have the mailbox bill and the LavaNet bill at the same time, and in a cycle where Third Wednesday in December will be as late as it can be.

But that's not all. When I opened the envelope, the check was attached to a form with the information that $81 had been deducted from it for a "tax levy". I confess, I didn't even look at the tax form this year, because last year I was so far below the level where I'd owe anything I didn't think it necessary. Social Security payments should be tax exempt.

Oh well, as the wise folks in Lake Woebegone say, it could have been worse. The tax bill could have been even larger or, worse still, the check might not have been in the box. Now that would have been misery.

Before I embarked on that disheartening expedition, I was sitting in Hamilton Library. Full house, all computers occupied, so I was waiting. In walked the Sleeptalker. I looked at my watch, explained I had to go get my check and cash it, would return in an hour or so. To my surprise, he was still on campus when I returned.

It seems that each time he indulges in that pipe, he becomes more and more unable to distinguish between paranoid delusion and reality. I heard a number of utterly unbelievable stories, including his certainty that his mother is having an affair with Angelo. [!] That, I think, is about as likely as a White Christmas in Waikiki.

He also claimed to have just discovered he has a sixteen-year-old daughter. I said I had a difficult time believing he had fathered a daughter at age 14. He adjusted the story, meaning he had been sixteen when it happened and the daughter was now 14. Follow that White Rabbit.

We went to the mall, I bought him cigarettes, beer, and some food and we continued our bizarre conversation. He had seen Angelo the day before and said Rocky and Tanioka are in jail. That may be one of the more accurate things he said all afternoon, information gathered from Angelo, I assume.

He left to take advantage of the bus transfer he had which would have expired at 5:30 and said, "I love you." "I love you, too," I replied.

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Rocky may have been in jail, but he isn't anymore. He went breezing by the mall bus stop on a bicycle, early on Thanksgiving morning, looking rather gaunt and stressed.

It was a surprise, and a welcome one, to discover that the Dark Corner was closing for all four days of the holiday. Four mornings of sleeping without being concerned with the time. A blessing, even with a tile mattress.

The campus was deserted on the holiday morning so I was able to continue with George Eliot's Middlemarch which had already occupied me for two days. One of the great works of English fiction, no question.

Then I met Helen R to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I didn't much like it, thought it was overblown, overdone, and too long. There were several times when I had to fight falling asleep, something which never happened in the book.

The young man who plays Harry, though, was perfect in the role.

We ate afterwards at the Big City Diner. I didn't repeat the mistake of last year in ordering the holiday dinner since I'd been unable to eat more than half of it, but in deference to the occasion had a smoked turkey and cranberry sandwich.

The mall madness on the Friday began very early. The toy store opened at five and there was a long line of people waiting their turn inside, while others staggered away laden with huge bags of stuff. Ho, ho, ho ...

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Given news reports of weather in some parts of the mainland and Europe, I can hardly expect to get any sympathy when I complain about it here. But we've had Kona weather for over a week now and it really gets to be depressing. Bring back the Tradewinds.

Considering the financial outlook for the next three weeks, I really don't need any additional depressing factors. I have to suspend my habit of an early morning piece of pie and milk until next Monday when the foodstamps allowance appears. Unusual, since for the past few months I've had a surplus to carry over each month.

It was a quiet, uneventful weekend. I listened to Gounod's Romeo et Juliette from the Houston Grand Opera. Tuned in late, so at first I didn't know what I was hearing, would have guessed Verdi except that it was in French. Eventually it got to an aria I know, giving me the clue. I know excerpts from the work, but I think this was only the second time I've heard the whole thing.

As is usually the case, when Prairie Home Companion does a broadcast from a university it's a good one. So it was with one from Michigan State University.

And Lasser gave us an hour of songs with lyrics by Dorothy Fields.

A fine romance, with no kissing,
a fine romance, my friend this is.
We should be like a couple of hot tomatoes,
but you're cold as yesterday's mashed potatoes.


Well done, Dorothy.

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december 2005
the tales