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small orange square Car service successfully wrangled; since it was the dealer the charge was high & I feel ripped-off - but now I have new rotors, pads & shoes. My contact in the Service Dept, like last year <1>, was Dwayne, who in the movie of my life will be played by Nicholas Cage. Riding the bus was educational - it was my first time on the local system (VTA) - both buses had new-smelling interiors, done up in a very pleasant blue motif. The downside was this system doesn't do transfers! Instead, the one-day pass priced at slightly more than two tickets is available. The immediately obvious positive attribute of this system's buses is the cow-catcher rig they've got attached in front - it folds down to hold a bicycle or two.

small green square What's happened with the kiwi fruit? Almost invariably, wherever I go over the past week or two, they've been hard & unripe. I eat one a day, with my shredded wheat in the morning, and I spend a lot of time in the produce section selecting the best kiwis. These are slightly (but not too) squishy. You can try buying them hard, in hopes that, like bananas, they'll ripen eventually, but my experience is they won't. Those that I've been buying have been the most squishy among bins of hard kiwis, yet when I get them home it's obvious by the first knife-cut that they're not yet ripe - instead, hard & flavorless. They're all too hard, I just had high hopes I foolishly bought the least hard. I think whoever back at the farm is picking them too early.

small blue square Reading ceej's journal. I wish she didn't wax so technical, I scan over all her job talk to read the rare words on any other topic. And she writes a lot of words. Unlike me, of late - I feel a little more inhibition than when I started this the thing, knowing now certain of friends & family are reading this.

small purple square .......LITERARY INTERLUDE........
    Though brilliantly sunny, Saturday morning was overcoat weather again, not just topcoat weather, as it had been all week and as everyone had hoped it would stay for the big weekend - the weekend of the Yale game. Of the twenty-some young men who were waiting at the station for their dates to arrive on the ten-fifty-two, no more than six or seven were out on the cold, open platform. The rest were standing around in hatless, smoky little groups of twos and threes and fours inside the heated waiting room, talking in voices that, almost without exception, sounded collegiately dogmatic, as though each young man, in his strident, conversational turn, was clearing up, once and for all, some highly controversial issue, one that the outside, non-matriculating world had been bungling, provocatively or not, for centuries. <2>
I heard this same voice in the cafeteria yesterday, a specific one nearby rendered more annoying by the Indian accent (that underwater sound). Also I picked this up to read again, but like the last several times I haven't gotten beyond this paragraph. Instead now I'm reading I Am The Cheese by Robert Cormier (1977). Speaking of strident voices I'm listening to Terry Gross interview Patrick Buchanon, who considers himself "just a middle-class guy who writes books", among other things, but not an intellectual. Middle-class with that Mclean address of yours, Pat? Please.

small gray square Got these great new kicks from Lands' End today - my first sock-sandals, made for action with lots of Velcro. There most be some jargon term for these<3> but I don't know it - instead I call them Vlad Shoes, after the odd Russian I worked with a couple projects back. Here is my favorite quote from Vlad:
"I can only fall down between this but I can't understand. This Art is... which is better? This Art is beyond or behind me?"
Perhaps you had to be there - he'd come into my office & noticed an abstract Kandinsky poster I'd put up. He stood there in his sandals-with-socks and eventually said in his thick accent Although Vlad was fun to talk about, he was not easy to be around due to some unpleasant habitual mannerisms. He was from Moscow (but he was not all that recent an immigrant) - back there he is alleged to have been a teacher in a smaller university, yet he had never heard of Kandinsky. But he wore those open shoes with socks almost year-round - my understanding's that's a mitteleüropäisch thing. Mine are very comfortable!

VTA - Valley Transit Authority

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<1>I was forced to throw myself at their mercy last year when I first arrived, with a problem caused by a dealer's shop Back East. Eventually Toyota here diagnosed the problem caused by Toyota there, and documented it such that I got a refund, but it took several visits with overnight stays requiring rental car arrangement. I hadn't been back since then Back.

<2> from Franny And Zooie by J. D. Salinger (1955) - it's the first paragraph (of "Franny") Back

<3>Anything besides "sport sandals" Back