In Which There Is a Reunion of Sorts

24 October 2003

I know what it's like, unpacking books. It's like moving into the dorms at the beginning of the year, all rushing around and trying to get other stuff done, but look, there's you! And it's been ages! And have you seen Matt yet, and do you know where Chris is living this year, and who is he rooming with again, and when do you have your lunch and how was your summer and helloelloelloello! And sometimes, in box #1 or #4 or something, it's more like you've spotted someone who was studying abroad last spring: oh yes, I do have you around to like, I'd almost forgotten. There are even a few of the ones you hope not to be lab partners with again this year. But there they all are.

And it's addictive; it's easy to think, "Just one more box." Because what I'm doing right now is general sorting: novels by the first letter of the author's last name, in clumps, and everything else in their clumps, undifferentiated as yet. So it doesn't take long to tear through a box that way, tear the box down, you're done, woohoo, where's the next. And it's easy to watch the boxes decrease in number and think, "hah, we've almost got this licked." Because, of course, the ten boxes out in the garage are not immediately apparent. Being out in the garage and all. Whatever our library has, it lacks a garage view. And I think we're okay with that.

It also lacks for one of the new shelves. C.J. came over and brought his drill, and we assembled the rest of the bookshelves we have. We still need one more for the library and one for each office. At least. I'm eyeing the office wall at my left and wondering if two might not be more the way of things. Or three. It wouldn't do to have too few bookshelves at the very beginning. Hmmmm.

Anyway, I unpacked and sorted books until I was exhausted and my back hurt, and Timprov got up and did the rest of the ones that weren't in the garage. And I'll do that, and we'll get more bookshelves, possibly up to five total, and put them together, and there will be much in the way of book storage. And it will be good.

I've been reading Helen Cresswell's Moondial, which is not at all like the Bagthorpe books, at all at all at all. It's not funny. Happily, it's not That's Not Funny! not funny, and it's not trying and failing not funny. It's just not, um, funny. Actually. Well, I'm glad I gave it a go before writing about Cresswell, lest I ascribe to her permanent funniness. And it's not a bad book.

I'm not sure why I'm having so much more of an ambivalent reaction to Cresswell not being funny than I did to Bujold writing a non-Vorkosigan book. I think in part it's because books I really find funny most of the way through, giggle aloud funny, rather than polite smile funny or your mother thinks you're precious, hmm? funny, are really rare. I can see why Bagthorpe type books would be exhausting to write. They're definitely madcap. Even Connie Willis can't be madcap all the time. I think I just need to grow up about this.

But Bujold is funny, too. But less so in the Chalion books. Yes. I think the solution is me growing up about this. I have to say I've encountered solutions I've liked better before.

In addition to this Moondial being not funny, it spooked me a bit last night. It's a very tough balance, spooking me, because I have to care about the characters, and I have to trust that the author will do horrible things to them if it's necessary, but only if it's necessary. Miyazaki is like this. I trust him to do horrible things whenever they need doing. Evidently Helen Cresswell is similarly trusted, or maybe it was just that the house and trees made creaky noises and I was awake alone in the house, since Timprov went to bed way before I did. But I was spooked, and I'll be glad to finish this book in daylight hours. It's not gore, it's not supernatural wispy things, it's helplessness. It's that I'm not sure what the main character of this book will be able to do about several of the problems in front of her, and they're big problems.

Anyway, I'll finish Moondial fairly soon. I'll organize books. I'll work on my book and contract work. I' something weekendish, maybe. I don't know what. I'll figure it out later today.

I found G Series stamps in the office yesterday. I'm sure they'll come in handy, when I figure out what they're actually worth (they're postage, after all; they never go out of usefulness -- or do the lettered ones? -- I'll have to ask my grandpa), but it would have been nice if they'd been something I was looking for instead. Something like a box of thank-you note-cards or a PG&E bill or the mop. (Where have all our PG&E bills gone? Long time passing?) The very minute I typed that, I had an inspiration about where the PG&E bill had gotten itself to, so whew. Here it is. Next, the Lindbergh baby.

Sometimes I worry about the age of my pop culture references. I believe I used the phrase "the bee's knees" in a letter to Liz this week, and my mom and I are trying to revive the popularity of "bully for you." I also was trying to come up with an opera singer in e-mail to Karina a few days ago and could only think of Jenny Lind. Jenny Lind. This is worse than when I was coming up with a generic guy name and immediately said, "Lars." Much worse.

And I have a bathroom problem. (And watch them all go clicking away, thinking, hmm, wonder what's on BoingBoing today....) The seal that makes the toilet tank fill with water and not just run indefinitely? It hates me. It has a personal vendetta against me. I know this is the case, because the one in my bathroom in my parents' basement didn't seat quite right. It was just mine, that bathroom. Then I didn't have a bathroom that was "mine" -- I shared with Mark. I will here, too, but Mark isn't here. The seal wasn't seating right in the master bathroom. I poked at it, and I sternly admonished it that it will be Mark's bathroom, too, just as soon as he gets here. And now it's behaving. Because it's not just my bathroom, obviously. Stupid thing. Or maybe I placated it with the new rugs and towels. Sacrifices to the seal gods. Arr arr arr. (Indications that we needs more sleep, precious: references to the Lindbergh baby, attempts to imitate seal deities in print.)

But having come to some kind of accommodation with the bathroom, I'm going to use it to become clean. And then, onwards. And as far upwards as we can manage, precious. I suggest that you don't attempt to imagine me singing "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain" in Gollum's voice. Not because I won't be doing it. Just because it's a bad idea.

"She will try to steal the precious but we doessn't let her have it, she will try to steal the precious when she comes...."

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