Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Minor vs Major Stuff

Blogger has just forced me to switch over to its new version. I find this very annoying. While it is to be hoped that the so-called Beta is actually better, my experience of it on other people's blogs is that it is not at all. There are extra steps to leave comments and the "blog this" button seems to have fallen by the wayside, making it harder to link to someone's post. Furthermore, my login now has to match my Google ID, which has to be my email address, which means twice as much typing. Very irksome.
Of course, the fact that I keep waking up at 4am is also irksome, even though I refuse to get up before 5:00 at the earliest. How am I supposed to get through a full day of anything if I'm ready for a nap by 7am? and to fall asleep by midafternoon?
These irritations are as nothing, however, to what people with actual problems have to endure. To put this in perspective (and from a not entirely gloomy standpoint), one of the Janets in my life recently had knee surgery. She has had quite a few of these in the past thirty-five or so years. This one, we hope, will be different in that she's getting a brand new knee that's supposed to eliminate all or most of the pain. Well, that is, once she recovers from the operation.
Those who know Janet or are interested in the process of dealing with this kind of surgery can read all about it on her knee surgery blog. For comic relief she did insert a photo of her two cats early on. Neither of them will be having knee surgery, but Henry is quite the giganto cat.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Emerging from Antisocialdom

What with the sun going down around 5pm and no light returning until about 7:30am, it could be awhile before my sleep patterns really readjust to European time. Waking up at 5:00 or so does mean it is not too hard to get to the library in time to sit by an electrical outlet, but tiredness is unpredictable.
Still, I am getting a fair amount of work done, which along with my unpredictable sleep patterns has made me reluctant to bother putting credit on my cell phone and letting anyone know I'm back. I have now taken the plunge, however. If I can talk to Jesse on Skype at 5:30 am (it being later than that in Ann Arbor), I can SMS a few people, who are now interrupting my typing with their replies. With luck, by tomorrow (or even later today) I might actually be up for face-to-face conversation.
For the moment, though, I am more concerned with putting the finishing touches on two conference paper proposals that I wrote after doing my grocery shopping. First thing Sunday morning is definitely the time to go to the supermarket!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Strange Days

Today has been an odd mix. On the one hand, the library materials I requested came properly (books, magazines, and microfilms!) and were not missing any of the necessary pages, and furthermore my camera worked properly. On the other hand, new mysteries have arisen relating to my bibliographic database (which seem to defy all logic), AND for the second day in a row I was suddenly approached in the library by a young man (although not necessarily the same one each time) who asked me something at a great rate of speed and departed when I looked dazed and asked him to repeat himself. Whether or not my Czech is passable, I don't see that it is reasonable to expect me to follow what people are saying when my mind is on something else and they speak quietly at breakneck speed. I've been known to ask native English speakers to repeat themselves four or five times under less difficult circumstances, so what's with these Czech students? Surely word has not gotten out that John's holiday card to me was from a Beatrice Wood exhibition entitled "Young Men & Chocolate," as the young men in question were not offering me any chocolate... and in any case one person can only deal with a limited number of young men, so stray ones popping up randomly in the library are unnecessary, especially when they are neither articulate, one's own students, or unusually decorative.
Indeed, I thought I was having some strange experiences, but upon due reflection I don't think they quite equal historian Felipe Fernandez-Armesto's jaywalking arrest in Atlanta, which he discusses in a three-part interview on YouTube. (And, though he describes himself as ageing and not as attractive in real life as in his publicity photo, he is more decorative than my library interlocutors.) Well, I didn't think either Atlanta or academic conferences were so hazardous. I am relieved that neither John nor I were arrested when we went to the College Art Association conference in Atlanta a couple of years ago. We might not have been as mild-mannered about it, especially as we were dissatisfied with the downtown vegetarian offerings.
On the topic of young men, however, I did run across a useful article in that ever-entertaining publication, Gentleman. Awhile back I had come up with a quote from the German writer Alfred Polgar, in which Polgar stated that kickline revues offered nothing for women. I was hoping, sooner or later, to run across the original. Gentleman had something even better, which was a Czech translation of the whole thing, in which Polgar not only said revues offered women nothing, but that this was because revues lacked titillating half-naked "boys."
Truly, whether one seeks the correct fabrics for plus-fours, caricatures of Nezval sitting under a table reciting his poems, or a few words about premature ejaculation, Gentleman comes through. After all, it's not every interwar Czech magazine that succeeds in combining ads for trenchcoats with photos of nude skiers.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Over the weekend, German TV assured listeners that although winter was very late, it would arrive on Tuesday.
I'm not sure how they came up with this forecast, but it did begin to snow while I was at the library today. I feel much better now (even though it is exam season and there were almost no seats in the library, let alone available electrical outlets). Snow nearly always has a very positive effect on my spirits.

Monday, January 22, 2007


Kristen has applied for a scholarship that is well known to our departmental colleagues, and which I managed to get a few years back. It is a very useful award for overseas travel and has been around a good many years. Numerous of these are given each year, some to undergrads, some to grads.
It is one of those homier, more local sorts of things, which has its good and bad aspects. For example, it has a long application form that was probably invented ages ago and which I recall thinking could do with some simplification. It definitely takes a more personal interest in the applicant's life than does, say, FLAS.
This has led us to an interesting discussion, as the form has a space for one's hobbies.
While I may have sighed at having to fill in yet another blank on the form, being asked about my hobbies in this context seemed quite innocuous and merely an indicator that I was applying for a local rather than national award. After all, somewhere along the line they also want to know the grantee's hometown paper so that a press release can be sent. That struck me as both thoughtful and extremely old-fashioned. (Where that I have lived would consider itself interested in such news? Do I have a hometown? Does the San Francisco Chronicle or the Washington Post have a place for these things?) Well, if one does come from a small town, I'm sure it is very nice to have the award mentioned in the local paper.
I was not, however, offended about the hobbies. I suppose I put in my usual sorts of things, like knitting and gardening.
Kristen sees this differently. She finds inquiry about hobbies to be inappropriate.
Somewhat surprised, I said that it is normal to have a line for hobbies on resumes, so why not on this?
Kristen assured me that she has never heard of anyone putting hobbies on a resume, unless, possibly, one is straight out of school and has nothing else to include.
I was intrigued. I learned how to do resumes from books on resume-writing, and this was just one of those things you included, although you might call it Leisure Activities or some such thing if you wanted to look excessively high-brow.
Perhaps job applicants are no longer taught to include their hobbies. It's true that the academic CV does not include these, but then it doesn't include very many of the things I used to include on resumes. I do not, for example, list the software programs I have learned on my CV, nor do I put my typing speed.
I am curious what others think on this burning issue of hobbies. Is it an invasion of privacy to ask about hobbies? It does seem to me that one has complete freedom to put only those hobbies that might look good to the reader; if blowing up mailboxes with home-made explosives is one's hobby, this is better concealed from the general public. On the other hand, the very notion of a hobby suggests that it is not socially disruptive. While we may pursue our hobbies to the point of obsession, a hobby is generally envisioned as agreeable and socially acceptable. This is why we list things like knitting, sewing, stamp collecting, gardening, building model railroads, swimming, and backpacking. Pursuits like going to Star Trek conventions, constructing and selling transgender Barbies, and target shooting may qualify as hobbies, but don't usually go on the resume; they aren't quite cozy enough. Throwing weekly swinger parties in your home dungeon is probably not even a hobby, though it is definitely an Interest.
It occurs to me that the concept of hobbies is both historically situated and class-related. Hobbies (formerly more often referred to as hobby-horses) go back at least a couple hundred years. Leisure and some amount of cash is required to have a hobby, so it is not something open to the lumpenproletariat. Knitting is not a hobby if it is part of one's survival. Gardening is not a hobby if it is obligatory.
I have occasionally heard that children today no longer have hobbies. Supposedly they spend all their time watching TV, surfing the internet, and in some cases playing sports. Since the children I know are rather atypical, I am not going to use them to build a case one way or the other. (I will say, however, that six-year-old Molly seemed as excited about owning a sewing box as she was about singing, dancing, and learning to read. I don't think this child is short on hobbies of any sort.)
Class-wise, adult hobbies now seem regarded as, perhaps, the province of the working class and the lower middle class. I may be wrong on this, but I think the intellectual class prefers to have "interests" while the moneyed class does I know not what. The activities involved may not be all that different, but the perception probably is.
As for me, I have countless hobbies, I just don't have a lot of time to pursue them.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Bad, the Good

The first thing on my list this morning was, not surprisingly, food. When one leaves town for a month, the refrigerator will not be very welcoming. And from this standpoint, I don't recommend returning to the Czech Republic on a weekend. Groceries are harder to come by.
On the other hand, I knew that the big grocery store at Nový Smíchov (formerly Carrefour, now Tesco... I had meant to note this rather undesirable change back in September) would be open. I don't know its hours, but they are open as early on Sundays as I have ever been able to drag myself there. I also knew that Káva Káva Káva would be open pretty early, although it turns out that 9:00 is the Sunday opening hour. This merely meant I bought the groceries first.
Once ensconced at Káva Káva Káva, I discovered that what I had imagined to be a mere indexing glitch in my sacred bibliographic database was a serious data problem. It had clearly come into existence a few days ago when I opened up the database file in Nota Bene in order to remove an errant code.
How I had managed to corrupt the file may remain a mystery. One always does need to exercise great care in opening database files via the word processor, but I had done this sort of thing before without causing any damage. This time, a long string of records subsequent to the edited record appeared to have been chewed up by electronic wolves. Or perhaps some young electronic rabbits had nibbled them selectively, preferring the tender young record numbers and book titles.
For some reason I had not done a backup just prior to wreaking my havoc. And, for some reason, when I had checked to see that the record I had edited had turned out all right, I failed to notice that those after it were all messed up.
I was already feeling unhappy at leaving behind the Spotted Pair and other mammals of whom I am fond, and this discovery did not improve my breakfast mood. I could see that a serious amount of labor might be involved in fixing this problem, and that it could not really be done in a café.
Instead, I went home and went back to bed, where I proceeded to sleep all afternoon despite having slept all night.
After agonizing a good deal and spending a lot of time examining the files, I managed to download uncorrupted versions from the online backup service I have been testing out lately. Some work will still be necessary to update the older files, but at least there is nothing visibly wrong with them.
I can now recommend Mozy.com for both ease of use and reliability. You can back up 2GB free, or pay to back up more. Referrals will also get you (or me) additional free gigs. So far I've only been backing up relatively small files like the dissertation and my email, not images. Basically, you choose which files or folders you wish to back up on the service.
The first upload does take ages, but subsequent ones (being much smaller) are pretty fast. I was mildly skeptical that I could really just restore what I wanted and not everything, but Mozy allowed me to restore precisely the files I wanted, quickly and easily.
Give it a try!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Adventures with Kyrill

The circumstances of my return to Prague were somewhat peculiar. For the first time, I didn't fly into Prague itself, but to Frankfurt as that way I was able to get a flight with a low fee for changing the date (who knows exactly when I might want or need to return; planning months in advance is never easy). The idea was that I could take the train from Frankfurt.
Minor annoyances surfaced from the very start, like scraping my finger on something on the way to the airport. (In, naturally, one of those places that comes in contact with absolutely everything so that it has now been very thoroughly scraped and prodded.) Then, my itinerary claimed that Air Canada would feed me breakfast on the way to Toronto, but failed to mention that I would have to pay extra. (I suppose this wasn't important since my stomach unsettled itself shortly after takeoff. Not seriously, just enough that I was glad no one was sitting between me and the aisle.)
Next, the Toronto airport proved to be a very confusing and irritating place. In general, I think of Canada as a sensible place where things are done in a more reasonable manner than at home. This is evidently not entirely true. Never mind that I was only spending two hours on Canadian soil, I had to fill out a customs declaration and exit the passenger area. After much querying and wandering, I reached an X-ray machine, which had to be navigated before I could get on the shuttle to what was allegedly the terminal for my transatlantic flight. After about a mile on the shuttle, or perhaps more, I discovered that in fact I had to return to the first terminal. The information desk assured me that I could only reach the terminal I had left via the terminal I was in. This made no sense to me. Also, there was allegedly no hot food at my destination, so I sought it where I was. There was not much choice. I must say that I had been under the impression that a Reuben sandwich was supposed to have dressing and more than a little sauerkraft, and that it was a grilled sandwich, not merely a hot sandwich with lots of meat and a dash of cheese and sauerkraut. The only condiments on the tables were vinegar and relish. I made do with the relish. It was still a challenge to get through all that unmitigated meat.
On the next flight, I was unpleasantly surprised to find that apparently the only way to get a vegetarian entree for supper was to request it in advance. I realize that's how these things used to be done, but I thought that these days one only had to make advance requests in case of being vegan or having strange food allergies. After having eaten meat three days in a row, the thought of chicken or beef was fairly revolting. (On the positive side, my neighbor was very nice.)
Arrival in Frankfurt was uneventful. The pilot did mention that we might have turbulence on the descent due to wind, but there was none to speak of. We could have been dancing in the aisles without any difficulty. I prefer my turbulence to be a bit more noticeable, as these days flight crews will do anything to keep passengers strapped in and immobile. Gone are the days when airlines used to advertise that in their new 747s passengers could gather round a piano and engage in other ambulatory hijinks during the flight. I suppose that was only in first class, anyway.
Once I had obtained my luggage, I proceeded to buy my train ticket. The German government showed no interest in anything I might be bringing into the EU from my barbarous homeland; evidently they saw no need to staff the customs desk at 6:30 a.m., which was fine with me.
I settled down to wait for my train, which was scheduled to arrive at 8:01. At around 8:05, I noticed that the train was alleged to be delayed or not coming. Since the next train to Nürnberg would still work with my connection, I decided that they would have to accept my ticket since it was hardly my fault if the first train had not shown up.
The second train did not arrive either, nor did various other trains alleged to go from that platform. Passengers waiting on the platform began to look rather confused. It appeared to me that there must be some problem on that track, as a train had gone on a neighboring platform.
Eventually I grew bored and wandered upstairs, where I discovered that every train on the board was listed as late or cancelled. I could see no good reason for this, so I joined a line waiting to speak to the railway service people. When I inquired what had happened and what I should do, the information person gestured resignedly and said that I could get a train in two hours. I concluded that they were having some sort of arcane electrical problem affecting the switching, since she seemed to be gesturing toward the overhead lights. Breakfast seemed like a good idea since the in-flight breakfast was long past.
Every now and then a train came through, but of course none of these were going in the right direction. Around noon a suitable candidate finally showed up from Köln. It disgorged a surprising number of people and took on quite a few. I got a seat, but although it would have been very comfortable under normal conditions, it was not very agreeable when I had to be wedged in with all my baggage. I had the impression that the man in the window seat did not like being barricaded in, but he made no mention of it and merely looked disgruntled. Eventually the train reached Nürnberg.
When I got into the main hall to try and see whether the afternoon train to Prague was still scheduled, I discovered that the railroad situation was anything but resolved. There were more people milling around than can be found even in the Brno main station at the start of a holiday weekend (where the crowd is more concentrated than that in Prague). Before long, all the trains were simply removed from the board so as not to annoy us with stupid references to trains delayed more than 60 minutes.
It struck me that I would do well to find a hotel room before everyone else in the station had the same idea. Fortunately, at 3:30 this proved strangely easy and not especially expensive. By 4:00 I was asleep.
Around 8:30 I was awakened by the arrival of a noisy family, so I decided to investigate the television news in case it mentioned the railway trouble. Fortunately, the TV was much easier to turn on than the one in my apartment in Prague. In less than ten minutes I was watching the relocation of a giraffe somewhere in Africa. It looked very much like a kidnapping, although it was alleged to be a good thing. The narration focused on the difficulty of subduing the animal and how to keep its head under the phone lines (since the giraffe had a bag over its head, one could see why it was averse to being prompted to lower its head).
Eventually a short newscast about the weather came on, which enlightened me that a storm had knocked over many German trees and even twisted up some metal. Various deaths were reported and the Köln train station was shown to be in a state similar to what I had seen in the Nürnberg station. Rather than spending too much time on this gloomy news, the channel quickly turned to instructive features on the manufacture of Eistörtchen (a confection I had never previously heard of) and of heavy-duty nautical rope. After an hour and a half of TV, as well as a day of listening to other travelers calling home, I concluded that my ability to understand basic spoken German was much better than I had thought. All I needed was to stop inserting Czech words whenever I tried to speak the language, although I had discovered that Germans as well as Czechs say "jo," which was a surprise.
In the morning I failed to find any news at all on TV, but learned from the newspaper that Germany had been the subject of a hurricane named Kyrill. Since I had been under the impression that hurricanes were a warm-weather coastal phenomenon, this surprised me. I was also surprised by the number of newspapers that featured exactly the same layout under different titles. Apparently you had to get a newspaper from another region of Germany in order to get something slightly different. Or, of course, you could buy a tabloid. I decided that it was impossible to judge which paper had the best coverage and that I could wait to read about it all online.
And so, now that I have arrived in Prague without further incident, I will be looking at the broader picture, which you can do as well at:
Spiegel Online International (in English) and their meteorological preview (in German) as well as their latest (also in German)
The New York Times
Britain's The Sun discusses local deaths. Google did not bring up much else worth reading on the topic, which I thought was a poor showing.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Dreams of Martin Luther King, Jr.

In honor of today's Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, I direct you to the blog Take a Swig of Alf, which is featuring King footage.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Whale-Cat Habitat

When not perusing books and transcripts at the Getty, or hanging out with friends, John and I made some investigations into the ways and natural habitat of that indolent species, the Whale-cat (subject of a possible animated film). The Whale-cat is very hard to pry out of its preferred habitat, which is, as far as can be ascertained, any warm comfy place. It requires bedding with flannel sheets, although it also likes sunny beaches and, of course, hot springs. Its preferred foods appear to be coffee, fine red wine, and, from time to time, chocolates. If petted sufficiently, it would probably never bother to eat, but would lounge happily about making noises not unlike those George used to make when enjoying a carrot during vet visits (George's vets were always pleasantly amazed at his ability to enjoy carrots and petting even in the throes of an exam).
The Whale-cat is an animal that has been seriously under-studied by the zoological community, but we expect to make a major contribution to the understanding of this rare and bizarre beast, which John posits is closely related to the sloth as well as to cats and whales.

Friday, January 12, 2007

To the Getty and Back

The research trip to the Getty was quite productive and agreeable. I was able to examine a fair number of books that I had not been able to locate yet in Prague--evidently the Getty has done a good job of seeking out items relating to Czech modernism--and John examined transcripts of some lengthy interviews with the composer John Cage. The most significant things for my purposes were the catalog for the sale of Toyen's estate (surprisingly small and limited; when were her other belongings sold?) and a set of letters written by Heisler.
We quite enjoyed being at the Getty, and were disappointed that we didn't end up having time to see any of the museum itself. The evenings were filled with visits to various of our friends, all of whom one or the other of us had known for at least 25 years (well, except for the juvenile contingent). It's always a great pleasure to meet and like the friends of one's friends. We also got to see remarkable performances by Molly, who is six years old. She began her evening's entertainment by reading two chapters of a book to us and then proceeded to sing and dance until dinner-time, when her attempts to pry John away from the couch resulted in much laughter among the three of us. Another evening we met two chihuahuas who immediately recognized that if they sat on my lap they would receive much petting. John was much amused at their ability to spot a Petter.
To our dismay, we did have to return well before we had worn out our welcome, but we enjoyed the drive back. The conversation was good, John decided he likes driving my car, and we found a radio station in Pismo Beach that played a stellar selection of hits from our earlier years.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Bouncing to LA

Her Spottedness, though bouncier than ever and now possessed of an appetite that would astonish even the deceased George (who believed that a good carrot could make any plane ride or vet visit worthwhile), is supposed to take her medicines for awhile yet and continue to get subcutaneous fluids. She puts up with the fluids pretty well--evidently it really must not be that painful--but refuses the medicines, which must then be syringe-fed. I am not certain why such an intelligent creature doesn't quite get that if she ate the mixture out of her dish, she wouldn't have to have the syringe stuck in her mouth and lick the driblets off her fur. But we all have our little blind spots. At least she forgives us right away.
In non-rabbit news, John and I have managed to arrange to do research at the Getty next week, so we are now hastily arranging to visit various friends in that region, especially those who will be so kind as to put us up. I hope we'll manage to see at least everyone we've contacted, but this could get tricky. Evenings only last so long.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Rabbits and Dens of Iniquity

Ms. Spots, although she did not wish to be medicated and allowed much of what I was syringing into her mouth to drip onto my father's bathrobe, promptly felt the benefit and soon ate some hay. This morning she devoured many greens and bounced about with considerable energy. We are much relieved.

Jesse prompts me to participate in a game where one must:

Find the nearest book.
Turn to page 123.
Go to the fifth sentence on the page.
Copy out the next three sentences and post to your blog.
Name the book and the author, and tag three more folks.

Here goes:
The elaborate decoration and extensive equipment of these establishments explain the high prices levied on the clients. The interior decoration of the great fin-de-siecle tolerances was extravagant. Many keepers were determined to renovate their establishments on the occasion of the universal exhibitions of 1878, 1889, and above all 1900. Again, although picturesque description is not my purpose here, I shall quote from the accounts of some of these establishments to be found in the Meunier report:
"A Swiss rock, with a marvelous grotto and a rustic staircase, is one of the curiosities and one of the mysteries of the establishment [situated in the rue Chabanais]. [...]"

--Alain Corbin, Women for Hire: Prostitution and Sexuality in France after 1850

Well... that was the book closest to the laptop and it did not serve too badly. I don't suppose that Textiles of the Arts & Crafts Movement would have been quite so intriguing. (It now dawns on me that I can't count and quoted five sentences, but the hell with it.)
I tag Kristen, P'tit-Loup, and Rabbit Girl.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Calypso Spots Alarms Us

Ms. Spots, perhaps distressed that I had gone off for a couple of days without warning her, went off her feed yesterday. She exhibited no interest in her evening treats and sat resolutely under the desk, although she was agreeable when petted.
Since one can never be sure what lack of appetite is all about, I took her to the night vet to make sure she wasn't getting bloat or some other rapidly fatal condition. On the whole, she was deemed in decent shape, so after some subcutaneous fluids she got to come home for the night.
In the morning, she was reasonably frisky and ate a few greens, but was not quite her usual self, so back to the vet she went. The diagnosis is that her digestive tract is a bit static, not yet seriously so, and that the patient is well enough to express annoyance and jump about. Consequently, the idea is to keep whatever it might be from becoming any worse. She might be just fine tomorrow, or she might fight something off for the next couple of weeks. I had to be trained how to give her fluids (it makes me squeamish, but is not actually that hard so long as someone else keeps her from leaving the scene with needle attached) and we came home with an array of medications.
Her Abundance was very glad to get home and get back to the vital ministrations of her devoted Orion, who immediately began anxiously licking her. The fine pair are now napping under the desk in a state of conjugal adoration.
Her human, on the other hand, is obliged to wonder whether plans to go to the Getty next week will have to be changed or scrapped.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Whale-Cats and Lagomorphs at New Year's

The New Year has arrived (and by this time, all over the world, although this doesn't take into account Chinese New Year or other forms of new year). And, as is my custom, I have the nerve to imagine that on the whole it will go well for me personally while admitting that perhaps the world overall will continue to be subject to indignities like global warming and pointless wars. It seems a little callous to admit that I'll probably be enjoying myself through another year full of death and destruction.
Did I prepare a set of New Year's resolutions?
Well, no. It has been a good many years since I bothered to do that. There is no longer any reason to resolve that I will succeed in having sex before I die, and I don't suppose it will be of any more use now than previously to resolve to become a famous writer. (While I am not quite as famous as I had in mind thirty years ago, I am much more famous than I was then, and I expect that in another thirty years I will be as famous as there is any point in being.) I have no idea what other sorts of resolutions I might once have come up with. One can always hope to become a better person, but I try to keep that in mind year-round, as it is rather dull for a resolution.
My New Year's Eve was not perhaps as exotic as last year's, and did not involve a slumber party in Prague, but it was quite agreeable. First, John and I dropped by his friend Elizabeth's to play a few rounds of her proverb game. This fine entertainment involves one person reading the beginning of a proverb (the more obscure, the better) and the others inventing endings for it. The correct ending has to be guessed at. There was a fairly large group in attendance and the endings were exceedingly imaginative. I will merely point out that it is not wise to thatch your roof in the wind or to stir the fire with your sword. Furthermore, the more naked the jackal, the longer the tail. (Do not ask me why, the latter is the fault of the Dutch. I am not acquainted with any naked jackals.)
After a time, we proceeded on to another festive event, somewhat at the other end of San Francisco. This too was well attended. Many of the attendees were wearing wigs, so we were nonplussed at not having been forewarned. (I do own a metallic blue wig, but it is in storage.) A fine time was had and I must admit that John looked better in the blonde wig than I did. We were intrigued by his appearance in the Howard Stern wig but it did not quite have the je-ne-sais-quois of the blonde wig. I am desolate that I had left my camera behind. But on the other hand, I discovered that one of John's old friends is acquainted with a childhood friend of mine.
In the morning, Cesar joined us for breakfast and we roamed around the Mission. The weather was relatively warm in the sun and we felt quite content, or so I imagine since this was true of myself and I have no reason, in this case, not to extrapolate to my companions.
The rest of the day involved a fair amount of reading (at least on my part) and the viewing of a long and surreal Harry Smith film that involved a watermelon, an umbrella, and numerous other props. John and I contemplate the creation of a vaguely similar film about that languid mythic creature, the WHALE-CAT. The whale-cat would go on its seasonal migration to the hot spring, although it might stop to read a few books on the way. (This opus will be added to the list of projects I would like to undertake if I ever take an animation class at Pittsburgh Filmmakers.)
On that inscrutable note, I believe the new year can be said to be suitably greeted.