I’ve tried to enjoy schlepping water, thinking that it serves to keep us to some human roots.
Annoyances and upsets with the iPhone 4S have been more than offset by its screen, the silkiness of its surfaces, the camera, and the third-party market for both software and hardware.
After they finished watching the Bond movies, I figured the next series John Gruber and Dan Benjamin would discuss on The Talk Show would be Stanley Kubrick’s oeuvre. But Gruber refused — too personal for podcasting, he said. Disappointed, I rewatched 2001.
Instead of acknowledging the wisdom of leading from behind, the Right jumped on the Obama administration’s handling of Libya as yet another example of at best incompetence. They lost me there.
Steve Jobs we lost at the age of 56; when Frank Lloyd Wright reached that age it was still only 1923, the time of merely his second comeback with Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel.
It’s amazing, given the adulation he enjoyed elsewhere, that the Israeli public knew from the start not to trust this US President.
Nobody from usesthis.com has asked me what my setup us, nor is likely to anytime soon. So I’m just going to mouth off here about it. But first, some background.
On the Leon Wieseltier/Andrew Sullivan spat, Walter Russell Mead seems to want to have his strudel and eat it too.
Defeat in the Olympics bid may focus the mind in the Oval Office where it should be: Afghanistan.
There’s nothing else around here except empty desolate pretty hills. The Israel Trail passes by a bit to the west. It’s a hot July Wednesday morning. Things are reasonably busy. The shops are mostly franchises, almost all homegrown — Super-Pharm, Aroma, Tzomet Sfarim, Cup O’ Joe’s, LaMetayel, Mega, Fox, Castro, H&O.
do like Mondays, fresh and raring attempts to once again do everything on the weekly plan. Printed off is my pristine new weekly checklist full of hopes that this time, this time, I’ll wake before 6am every morning, brush the dog every day, take a photo of myself sometime every day with PhotoBooth, bill a full day’s work every day, and of course, write these Parries; and other things besides.
So I am up early, hitting the alarm then going back to sleep, but jolting out of a dream at 6:03am, with partial pain in my diaphragm as usual these days as the heartburn takes a turn for the worse unless I load up with pints and pints of water throughout the day. Now, Irit often accused me of only remembering the good and forgetting the bad, ie, of being a sentimentalist, whenever I wax reminiscient about living at Even Sapir in the Judean Hills. But in fact I also forget the good. For instance, at our previous place here in Brighton I would always stock goat’s milk because it made earl grey tea taste better. And I’d completely forgotten about that for months, and this week I suddenly remembered.
But first things first. It’s still dark in here in January at 6am. I stumble into the orifice—the office—the second bedroom—and there Jam is sleeping on the little blue Ikea sofa we bought from the previous two tenants when they moved out (along with the big sofa, the fridge and the washing machine). Students, they were. Maddie would always try to raise me at 6am—she’d lick my nose if my mouth was open, my mouth if it was closed (I realize that now)—but in those days I had not inaugurated this new regime of early rising, and her efforts, joyful though they always were to me, were in vain; I’d ruffle her head and go back to sleep. But Jam doesn’t bother. I’m up and about and she’s still completely a dead weight on the sofa. “Good morning to the Jam,” I whisper. “Good morning to a doggies.” We just saw The Golden Compass. A CGI travesty though it was, and I knew it would be, it did make me want to read the book, with its English fantasy application of Platonic daemons, and it did make me wonder about my own attachment to my dogs. “She was me,” was my mantra of bereavement for at least a year after Maddie passed.
Then it’s down the stairs—how nice to have stairs—and I switch on the light in the area just outside the bathroom, because it would be too bright still to switch on the bathroom light, though I need to see what’s where, as there’s no window. Usually I hate a bathroom without a window but in this place we have two, and the one upstairs has got one, so I usually use that one, but it’s the only window in the place that hasn’t been replaced by double glazing, and it gets cold in there. So now you know my morning pee choices. The world needed to know.
Done, it’s to the kitchen we go. Still too bright for main kitchen light, so I switch on the one built in to the oven. First procedure: clean out the 2-cup mokka from the previous usage. The sink here is metal and I really enjoy lightly bashing the coffee holder against it to knock the damp grains out. Into my cupped left hand and down into the rubbish bin under the sink they go before swilling the remains out under the tap; the sound is just the same as what the baristas make in cafes. Then I spoon fresh coffee out of its converted jam jar into the mokka and pour in the mineral water. Then the lovely switching on of the gas stove by electric spark. Each time I do this is an involuntary moment of appreciation, for the ease of lighting the fire, for its immediate steady easy burn. So many things around us are technological but apart from a lighter this is the only time we see fire, and the way the gassy air ignites with a bit of a whoop, well, it’s a helper in the waking up process. Plus I’ve been able to smell the coffee to come.
Then we bring a little espresso cup and saucer out of the cupboard and place them on the kitchen counter, sliding one onto the other, and this act and resulting sound is also pleasingly similar to how it goes with the professionals in a real cafe. Then I pour in half a glass of milk, because I figure the milk should go in first so it won’t scald when poured on top of something boiling, then a teaspoon of sugar as raw and organic and rough and not ready as I can find. The four coffee cups and saucers, perfectly servicable pure white porcelein, were only £1 in the nearby pound shop—Britain may be expensive but bargains abound. Ah, all this internal chatter repeated so often 6am-ish.
Then the surprising part: a pint of water in a beer glass with two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Yes, this is the adamkhan.net morning tonic of choice, complete with the little mothers of vinegar. This is downed and the day feels begun right. Besides, coffee to come.
Soon enough the mokka begins to bubble—air now, no longer liquid rising into the upper chamber—and it’s off the stove, into the coffee cup. Upstairs I go, leaning forward alarmingly and wondering if this is due to encroaching old age before remembering that I used to scamper up the stairs leaning forward when I was 8. In the orifice I place the coffee on the desk. The lights go on and Jam briefly squints, but whereas it takes me about 3 minutes to adjust it takes her less than 3 seconds.
Window open for fresh air? Perhaps a Nag Champa incense stick, or a tea-light to heat up the little tray of frankincense and myrrh. If I’m good then before looking at the computer I open today’s folder in the 43 folders cart and see what bill there is to pay or little suggestion for something to do. Then we sit down and although my work is defined and I should start it immediately, I nonetheless “warm up” a little by checking email, and maybe RSS feeds on NetNewsWire. Perhaps there’s a likely-looking project advertised that I should respond to. It’s about 6:30am.
At about 8:00am I’m feeling the beginnings of the nausea of having ingested nothing but coffee, milk and sugar. It’s time for porridge. How easy porridge is to make in the microwave, as easy as any breakfast cereal, yet much more satisfying, and much cheaper. While spooning it in I read craperoni on the web. Drudge. Jpost.com. Links I’ve had the discipline to copy and paste and put in green-colored stickies to read later. Then it’s back to work until about 9:30am.
This morning I stepped out then to Dockerills, the pretty hardware store around the corner, and bought some 100w lightbulbs and, at last, a metal bin to replace the ugly plastic one we inherited that’s been outside in the yard. Upon returning to the house I was strangely hungry, almost as if I hadn’t eaten that bowl of porridge, and so it was time, aha!, for the current breakfast2/elevenses/brunch/lunch ritual. I make toast with the current delicious bread of the moment from the bakery on the other corner from Dockerills, Infinity—it was sourdough but now I’m on the spelt—then, a trick from Aaron, rub the toast with garlic before spreading butter (well, spreadable butter, so mostly butter) and something else. Today it was Philadelphia cream cheese and smoked salmon, both on sale at a 50% discount last week at Sainsbury’s. My, my. Jam got two slices of spelt toast and cream cheese as well, but no smoked salmon. That’s for me.
Meanwhile two duck eggs have been boiling in my little portable titanium camping pot. I use it because it’s a small pot that heats up fast, and to help keep it real. After two slices of toast the eggs are ready.
Accompanying all this is, when we’re lucky, the Hugh Hewitt show, posted on the web within a day of the live show. Today was a treat: Mark Steyn, Rudy Giuliani and Norman Podhoretz! All while having breakfast! What a constellation. Then it’s time for some earl grey tea with goat’s milk to take back upstairs to the office and resume work.
Today, not long after that, I got a phonecall from Aaron. He was driving a rental car up from Eilat to Tel Aviv, as is his wont, this time taking the Jerusalem route to see Yisrael’s new restaurant, and had stopped in view of the Dead Sea for a pee and a smoke, and to call and say he’d just arriving at the Dead Sea and was stopping for a pee and a smoke. Ah, to be sure, I feel I should be there doing that as well, with him, back there at our small yet spectacular homeland. But here, this is quite cosy as well, and I’m fond of these current routines, fond enough to set them down.
Now, how will I do Tuesday? Already it’s 12:03am, too late, too late, for realistically rising pre-6am.
The Small Adventures - Part 2