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small white square I've started reading a monster of a book, Harrison Salisbury's The 900 Days, from 1969. Zipped through When The Tripods Came by John Christopher, have been casting about since for something to read; this may not be it... the story of the siege of St. Petersburg <1> between 1941 and 1943.

small gray square People hanging around my building right now, in the evening sunset-glow, down on the sidewalk or the concrete parking apron include several children, two older, two younger: three are bouncing balls and the forth is on a tricycle. The biggest ball is yellow and has the familiar smiley face on either side. A brown man walks by carrying a small radio, a little bigger than a deck of cards <2>. It's talking to him in fuzzy Spanish. Then the guy who parks underneath me drives in, and walks around the side to his door. Silent, Asian, amiable when eye-contact is made, his personalized plates on his Mercedes state the name of (what I take to be) his home city. Somewhere in the midst of these characters there's a story.

small yellow square Became frustrated with the bank today, for several moments was on the wrong side of losing my temper, but things worked out. Was just trying to get new checks, but instead I was directed to use the adjacent telephone to call customer service. So what are you behind the counter there for? The phones didn't work, it seems some additional (implied) key entry is required to signal input (the *, not the #) - I couldn't get it to respond. Finally I got the manager to do my bidding, but her concluding request was that in future I go back and bother the original teller instead of bothering her if at all possible. This was in a Wells Fargo bank, a chain for which there's no love lost. (They bought First Interstate, which is why I have an account there.) I think it's artificial, this disassociation banks create from the check printing process - my hackles go up whenever I confront it directly (I'm thinking of the charge which will soon show up on my statement.) That stuff should all be free, and performed in-house, even on-site while-you-wait.

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<1> or Leningrad, as it was known when this happened Back

<2> what we used to call a "transistor" Back