At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

A work Saturday. The library was practically deserted all day, so I whiled away the hours reading the Pythons autobiography. Aside from Chapman (shyness, alcoholism, homosexuality, an early death from cancer), the boys seem to have had enviable lives. Who wouldn't want to be married to Connie Booth, for instance, even if it ended up in divorce? The book, consisting entirely of first-person accounts, is a fascinating read for the Pythonophile. I did a little Python-related googling as well and found on a new DVD box set of Ripping Yarns! I hope they put out a region 1 version soon.

Abstaining from movies is already becoming onerous. It has made me realize how much I have depended on a couple of hours of passive entertainment to get me through the nights here.

Friday, February 11, 2005

For Lent I'm trying to give up movies on DVD/VHS. (Movies in the theater are fair game, although I doubt anything interesting will be playing.) But the Christian practice of Lent, at least as I see it, isn't a purely negative, ascetic exercise, but one intended to free time for higher pursuits. I'm hoping to spend at least a portion of the 2 hours a night I ordinarily devote to a movie on reading. A couple of recent ILL requests--Thank You, Jeeves and The Pythons Autobiography--arrived this week; combined with the fantasy classics I bought at Half Price, these make a big stack of reading material that should get me through the 40 days. (Whether or not reading such books is really a "higher pursuit" than watching, say, Rohmer movies, I leave for you to decide.) Dipping into the Python volume, I find a British radio program called The Goons being cited repeatedly as a major influence, so I might want to give that a listen (CDs available at amazon).

Drinking: Carmen Merlot 2002; Listening: Stereolab, Sound Dust.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Last night a slightly shabby man walked to the circ desk and asked for a student phone directory. He seemed to find it difficult to accept that student phone numbers are private information. His demeanor was friendly but odd, as if his cognitive abilities were slightly scrambled. Eventually he went upstairs. About 15 min. later a campus security officer and a city policer office walked in and asked if someone had been inquiring about student phone numbers. Turns out the shabby man had started asking students studying upstairs if they could get him a student directory, and one of them had been disturbed enough by his behavior that she called security on her cell phone. The two officers went upstairs to talk to him for a few minutes. They came back downstairs and the campus security officer said "I don't think there's anything to worry about; he just seems a little slow. Call us if he gives you any problems." Later the shabby man asked me to help him find a book he had pulled up on the OPAC, but after I located it on the shelf he said "That's all I needed to know," shook my hand, and left without the book.

This morning The Boss mentioned a guy who pestered her last Saturday asking about student phone numbers! I related my experience of last night. She said "We need to ban him." Lo and behold, he walked in a few minutes later, walked right out as soon as he saw K.L. the database librarian, then decided to come in again, rushing immediately upstairs. The Boss asked me to go confirm that it was the same fellow who came in last night. I saw him parked on a chair on the second floor, staring at the elevator. We called security and they escorted him out after a brief, heated discussion.

I'm tired after a hard day of manual labor. We're setting up for our semi-annual book sale, so my back is aching after hours of lifting and toting boxes of books. Maybe the fatigue will help me sleep well for once.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Insomnia has been particularly bad the past couple of weeks. Which reminds me: during coffee hour at church the Attorney and I were talking about our experience with the disorder. "I notice I don't have a problem sleeping when I'm away on vacation," I said, "only when I'm here. So I think part of my problem is depression induced by living in a lousy little town."

He nodded. "You know, whenever I go on vacation and am reminded of what other parts of the country are like, the trip back is horrible. In the car I seethe in a silent rage and snap at my family if they try to talk to me."

Amen, brother.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Another reference question! Student needed a "scholarly dissertation" on Debussy's Suite Bergamasque. No problem--I used Dissertation Abstracts to locate one at the U. of Conn., and we submitted an ILL request for it.

Meanwhile, Reuters claims we owe them $6,700 for database subscriptions, but according to my records and those of our business office we paid that invoice back in November.

The Boss's son announced his engagement and then got a J.O.P. marriage, all within a week. I didn't think it was possible to find young singles in this town, but apparently I was wrong. This fellow met the woman at a kwickie mart, so I guess I should scope out the check-out counter the next time I get gas.

Drinking: Lorval Syrah 2001 (not very good, but cheap)

Listening: Stereolab, Last of the Microbe Hunters.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Congregational lunch at the pastor's house after church today. The topic of conversation turned to, well, conversation. Half-Lebanese Lady said she felt frustrated that she couldn't express her thoughts in as linear a fashion as desired. Her daughter, Drama Queen, recently back from auditions at Julliard and NYU, said in her usual excitable manner that she had problems talking to her public-school peers in Plainview because their vocabulary and intellectual interests were so impoverished. HLL then said, patting me on the shoulder, "That's why Carlos is so quiet; he knows we couldn't understand half of the ten-dollar words he would use." How I wish...I find that for every page of Eddison I read I have to grab my OED.

Thinking of giving up movies for Lent. Do I have the willpower?