I just finished a whirlwind trip to Southern California, where I cleaned out storage, obtained legal help regarding a certain matter, had lunch with old friends and partied with my daughters at various venues, including shooting pool in a gay bar. Last time we went there I was hit on by a man nearly my size but I demurely declined, having no natural urges for such trysts.
For my birthday present my daughter arranged a visit with my grandson Jacob. Here's an old picture (he's six now):
I can't believe how much he reminds me of my late daughter, Rachel: Not only does he have her coloring, but his lanky, athletic movements and supreme distractibility make for a behavioral copy as well. His mother had auditory ADD, and just like with her I had to tell him five times not to step on the pumpkins at the pumpkin patch we visited, whereas with my other daughters once was sufficient. He's a free spirit with boundless energy and it's really hard to get his attention sometimes. I do give credit to his father and grandmother for teaching him good manners.
Anyway, though it had been over a year, he bolted right up into my arms and we played all day. I bought him a play set of Vikings and he said, "Oh Grandpa! I love Vikings! How did you know?" Being Nordic myself, I told him: "You are a Viking."
We carved a ginormous pumpkin later with both a ghost and a bat design. He lost interest in that project quickly and went back to play with his Viking set.
My youngest daughter, Sarah, which means "Princess," while I was there, never traveled with an entourage of less than five. Then she's always been like that, surrounded by friends and admirers. As a stage performer she has charisma, which is hard to explain given her parents' retarded social skills at the same age (19). This only goes to show that personality is 75% genetic, and when the DNA dice roll, you get what you get, even if it doesn't look like or behave like you.
Here's Sarah at her high school graduation with a proud Papa:
In a marathon effort I drove six hundred miles from Long Beach to Mendocino yesterday, averaging 60 mph including gas and food stops. It amazed me since driving down I took two days. But I wanted to see Kathleen so badly and couldn't face another Econolodge.
For any interested in my upcoming book, a hardback for $17.99 due out February 15, you can do me a great favor if you have any connections to literary magazines for potential reviews. I've lined up three already but hope to have ten times that amount prior to its debut. Cross your fingers for me, or better, direct your fingers to a friendly editor to pitch the possibility of a review. And you can also write your own review and submit it (Are you listening, Norm?). To any so inclined in either capacity, I'd be happy to mail you a PDF copy prior to publication, with the hope that having a cyberversion will not dissuade you from buying the actual book.
J. Alfred was, of course, ecstatic to see me and he licked most of the hair off my bald head, I fear, in his excitement. Nice to have a pack animal around.
In all, The River of Life pushed me with a strong current through all the affairs down south, and things went swimmingly. I surprised myself. My usual reaction to the polyglot concrete playground of LA was held in abeyance with an assist from the Grateful Dead blasting as I entered the web of endless freeways.
Did you know California roads rank second to last in the nation? It is estimated that in LA alone, maintenance for a car is increased $800/yr by the bad roads. And rather than repairing our roads, this year's ballot has a proposition to fund a high speed rail between the Bay Area and LA at the cost of megabillions. New jobs are promised. I suppose the relationship between borrowing and job creation is only par for the course in our presently upside-down economy. Who coulda thunk, 100 years ago, that the world would constantly borrow from the future to pay for the present? I wonder what Eliot would have thought of that. Certainly Pound blew his mind over it.
Nothing more to report this morning. I am well. I've also lost more weight, having broken the zero of 260. The key is eating less. Duh!
I mail my ballot today. I may actually vote for the high speed rail as I tire of driving 1200 miles to see my daughters and grandson, though next time I expect I'll fly.
And to Ralph and Eric: Thanks so much for joining me at a historic bar for a three-hour, three-beer lunch. It was divine.