PD tour blog, 6/20-21
—Idea for a character: "I'm an intellectual property lawyer specializing in Sudoku cases."
—Every airport line a labyrinth of Tens-a-Barriers.
—Least romantic sign, LAX: PRE-SECURITY DINING
—In Seattle: Had morning coffee outside Grand Central Bakery; saw a homeless guy mummified in old clothes, face invisible. Later that afternoon, visiting E., we stop by an outsider-artist neighbor's house. He makes whimsical/strange tiled sculptures. In the backyard is one of a life-sized mummy, arms outstretched.
—I love how there is never any security when it comes to baggage claim.
—Media escort in Portland tells me that Oregon was founded as an all-white state.
—Why am I saying "No worries" again? "Sorry, Mr. Park, the room will be ready in 15 minutes." "No worries!"
—Happened twice: Upon dropping me off, cabbie says, "Have a good flight." Automatic response: "You too." Nipped it in the bud for the last one.
—Printed matter acquired: six volumes.
—In Portland, D. wears a shirt with DRAMA in a circle, crossed out.
—In San Francisco, lunched with A. and B. at WEIRD FISH. B.'s beard has a soothing effect.
—Many quaint and curious stores along Valencia. Borderlands, science fiction store, has Ouroboric signage:
—Anagram: Oregon: O NEGRO (!!??)
—Economics. In San Francisco, I mean Seattle, got an iced latte at Pike's Place (Pike Place?); clearly ordered and got the smallest size, but was apparently charged for the medium size, unless Washington has a 30% sales tax. Wanted to say something but didn't. Next day, take bus out to acclaimed waterfront taquería; I don't have change, nor any bill smaller than a twenty; the driver gives me a free ride. It all works out.
—Sign in Seattle: WE ARE UNABLE TO DELIVER BEYOND THIS POINT.
—In San Francisco I can't figure out how to get from the elevator to my room, how to get from my room to the elevator. Each time I wind up going the wrong way round, passing something called THE GALLERY.
—Must I record every semi-interesting sign I see, every vaguely amusing phrase or chuckleworthy name? Yes? What for? To inflict it, later, on an unsuspecting readership? To remind myself, I am alive?
—Couldn't get this in the other day's Jumble: TAPECK
—Am I gaining weight or losing weight?
—Least aerodynamic airplane logo: Alaska Airlines' eskimo, peering out through ancient eyes.
—In Seattle, in San Francisco, rooms have jogging maps, which I study with interest. Who am I fooling? I don't even jog in New York.
—Did not buy at Powell's a book I mildly coveted upon spying it by chance last summer: SHHH!, by G.[?] Sheppard. How long will it stay on the shelf, this 1000-plus-page novel set in Montreal? Scenario in which I return to Portland every year and check up on its saleability.
—Eccentric millionaire hires person (me) to do this.
"The reading public should pay me for telling them what they oughtn't to read. I must think it over."
"Carlyle has anticipated you," threw in Alfred.
"Yes, but in an antiquated way. I would base my polemic on the newest philosophy."
He developed the idea facetiously, whilst John regarded him as he might have watched a performing monkey." —Gissing, New Grub Street
—In Seattle, R. tells me about Underground Seattle, the old city built below sea level and abandoned, and the abandoned novel he was writing about it.
—Idea for story: Eccentric millionaire who hires his own private Jumble and Sudoku craftsmen, the way you would hire a chef.
—At Google, I try to summarize my blog for my hosts. "I write about my obsessions...the snake with its tail in its mouth? And the number 26?"
"FREMONT TROLL—This beloved public artwork depicts a large, fearsome troll devouring an actual Volkswagen underneath the Aurora Bridge." —Where Seattle, 6/08
—Hey , some a**hole tore out the map in this Seattle visitor's guide—oops, wait—I did that, yesterday.
—I like the airport name SEA-TAC.
—On Mercer Island, M.'s daughter, B., 5, tells me she's writing a book. She isn't finished yet but I think it will be pretty good.
—Stewardess: Young eyes, old man's hands.
—Thriller plot point idea: Someone with multiple piercings gets through security, is able to remove earrings etc. and form them into a weapon.
—In L.A., go to Barney Greengrass (which in New York is just down the street) at Barneys (which in New York is cross town), like an anagram from home.
—On plane from S.F. to L.A., two kids giddily dance in their seats, thin arms raised, as if swaying to San Serac's "What Price Revenge?," which has commenced piping into my ears at the correct moment.
—On plane home, watch Blast of Silence (1961) on DVD. Great fat-guy actor, room full of caged rats, keeps money in a lamp. The actress reminds me of someone. I think the main hit man actor is understated to perfection, wonder who it is, learn later it's the director. The narration is amazing but I imagine a different version—no narration, gaping silences.
—Spiderwick Chronicle is on at the front of the cabin. Tune in for about seven minutes of Penelope but I don't understand it. (Is Reese Witherspoon in the movie?) Watch a pretty funny episode of How I Met Your Mother.
—Note to self: Weed out dead metaphors. (Is that a dead metaphor itself?)
And it's one more night in Hollywood: EP at Book Soup, Los Angeles, 6/20/08
[Photo by Pinky.]