At Home He's a Tourist

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

Monday, September 18, 2006

The car problem turned out to be simply a used-up battery. After they fixed it the garage called and said "We got your lil' car all ready to go," which reminded me of the time I went to a Calvinist dinner party and someone said "There's a tiny green car in the driveway that's blocked me in; could whoever owns it let me out?" I guess it's true that in a West Texas town where the F-250 is king, a Saturn SL-1 is unusually diminutive, but obviously these people haven't heard of the Smart Car. Maybe when Smart cracks the U.S. market I'll get one and draw even more attention to myself.

We have a Starbucks! Big-city liberals have the luxury of sniffing at corporate chains, but here they've been a boon. Wal-Mart didn't replace thriving, locally-owned department stores; it allowed us not to have to go to Lubbock for a rice cooker or a hard drive. Chili's, as mediocre as it is, is the only place within 60 miles we can get a plate of pasta and a glass of wine. And Starbucks will be our first coffeeshop. An IHOP is being built, too, which sounds like a ridiculous thing to get excited about but indeed is a frequent topic of conversation.

I took a sick day. This cold has been ideal, really; serious enough to warrant staying home, but not so bad that I couldn't get in a lot of reading, prayer recitation, and guitar practice. The Illearth War has improved now that the narrative has swung back to Covenant and Elena's quest. The battle stuff in the middle section was getting too tedious, but perhaps that's just an idiosyncratic reaction; I read fantasy for its otherworldiness, not for the sort of accounts of large-scale conflict I could get by reading military history.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Perfect weather, but otherwise it wasn't such a great day. I'm coming down with a head cold, and in the parking lot of the grocery store (where I had gone to stock up on soup, OJ, and Nyquil) my car refused to start. I should probably feel grateful, at least, that I could find a wrecker on a small-town Sunday afternoon. Tomorrow, if I'm at all coherent, I'll need to call around to get the car fixed, since my brother is flying into Lubbock on Thursday and we're planning to go to NM for the weekend.

Got some reading done, at least: Stephen R. Donaldson, The Illearth War, the second volume in the Thomas Covenant series of fantasy novels. I'm not enjoying it as much as the first installment; more battle scenes and less poetic descriptions of the Land's beauty, plus Donaldson's penchant for ridiculously high-falutin' similes is getting out of hand. Still has its moments, though, and High Lord Elena is a very appealing character. Thomas Merton, Run to the Mountain, volume one of his journals. Intimidating.