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Oakland Blues Alley Festival

July 15th, 2001

Shit Happens
I received a thank you note and a Barnes and Noble gift certificate from a friend, recently, so I used it today to buy a copy of a beginner's guide to the Perl programming language (I looked through the book and some of it seemed comprehensible, which is good, as I must use it to write a cgi script tomorrow.) and a copy of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, a novel by Michael Chabon, which won this year's Pulitzer for literature. Chabon wrote Wonder Boys, which I read recently, and I've heard him interviewed on public radio.

I'm curious. Most of the books that have been meaningful to me have not won a Pulitzer, fewer still have made the New York Times bestseller list. In fact, making the Times list has usually meant the book wasn't worth reading in the first place. Fiction, like music, has a partisan following. People my age who listened to rock and roll in the late sixties and through the seventies didn't listen to just any old rock and roll. There were then and still are, I'm sure, um, music cliques with different, sometimes overlapping tastes, most of them class related socioeconomic divisions, but divisions none the less, and there were arguments back and forth, one band against another, one genre verses another and so on forever. Same with books. Only worse.

So why buy a copy of Kavalier & Clay? Not sure. I'll read it and think about it and maybe talk like an idiot about it. Part of me wants to read it to see what's considered Pulitzer material these days. I have no feeling anymore. What's politically correct in this particular year of a politically correct millenium? I enjoyed Wonder Boys well enough. More important, I actually read it, something (read a book straight through) that has been difficult for me for a while. Not good. So it's sitting in the bedroom. No need to disturb it just yet.

Let's see. A wondrous examination of my reading navel to start this entry, followed by what?Somewhere near the SF Embarcadero I'm sending my paperwork to the rental agent (the people who find you an apartment for a fee) on Tuesday and I assume I will be moving by the end of the next month, September, at the latest. I have a blood test tomorrow to see if my prostrate is really in trouble, and that could radically change my plans (biopsy, operation, followed by what one hopes is recovery) for the near future, but whichever way, I have changes coming and that might as well include the journal. But what? This endless barrage of self examination? Is this my purpose in writing in the evening? Give me something to fill the time, during a time when nothing much else is happening? Of course, my immediate idea is to set up the webcam again, and not shut it down; post more photographs, rather than less, and maybe work on my 100 books list, if I ever read another book. Just more moaning and groaning maybe, the journal dribbling along as we all dribble along to eventual extinction.

Oh well, ready or not, days fly, shit happens.

The banner photograph was taken at the Oakland Blues Alley Festival, the second near the Embarcadero in San Francisco. The quote is from The Zen Koan, by Miura and Sasaki.