Thursday, May 26, 2016

Category error.

We got in to the airport in plenty of times, because like the rest of America, we were afraid of long ass TSA lines. Which fears, of course, proved to be unfounded. I don't want to brag, but you're looking at a TSA Pre holder here, who knows how that happened, but I am totally putting it down to unspecified character strengths. So we sailed through, leaving us plenty of time to do airport things, such as:
  • Buying a Times (the Thursday edition is the best edition);
  • Logging on to the wireless;
  • Etc.
...and then realizing that it was elevenses, and therefore time for a snack.

"I don't want to eat a lot, but I need a snack," I declared. "Because I'm a little bit hungry."

"Well, it sounds like you'd better find something," said the historian.

I perused my options, which, as per usual, were thin. Dubious looking cookie at the coffee shop? Bagel? Bag of potato chips (a perennially trusted option)? Yogurt cups? With granola on top?

Well, I wandered past the airport Wendy's, the very same Wendy's that was once the site of a previous bad airport elevenses episode. Be that as may be: I saw a fancy picture of fries (where admittedly I have a weakness) with cheese on them, and also chopped peppers. Yes, America: I fell prey to a marketing strategy, in the form of fries. Ghost pepper fries.

I'm sure you can imagine that I thought I would be getting actual cheese, in its grated form, on my fries. But I watched as the behind-the-counter guy ladled the cheese sauce over the fries he'd harvested from the fry warmer, I thought, oh, right. Cheese SAUCE.

A SMALL DIGRESSION ON CHEESE SAUCE: There are people in my life who love what we call 'nacho cheese,' e.g. the Kraft product that is sold in jars to be heated and consumed with tortilla chips. See also: queso. I find this product repugnant. To me, this product bears the same relation to cheese that Pringles bear to actual potato chips, or that butter-flavored spray bears to actual butter, or any gross simulacrum to its legitimate forebear. However: there hath not been queso/nacho cheese/cheese product in my house for a long time. Maybe this is why, though I should have known better, I did not, and was led astray by the attractive picture of the grated cheese, aka the ghost pepper fries.

Did I eat the fries? Yes I did. Some of them. Some of them were not bad, or not fatally bad, anyway. In my defense, I was hungry. Okay, I know: that's not a real defense. 

Did the historian eat some? Yes, yes he did--in fact, he finished them up, when there was too much of the cheese sauce drowning the remaining few potatoes. Would I order them again? Jeez, I hope not. But the airport elevenses might be a felicity condition for bad snack choices, and that's the (possible) truth.

In Tempe,

People really like to play Minecraft. Also: eat pizza and listen to organ music. Also: watch Zootopia.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Today in Hank Williams news.

I'm continuing to work on my little Hank Williams obsession. I am, of course, working on a poem, or something that might become a poem.

Today, for instance, I found out that Williams was born with a spine issue, called spina bifida occulta. It later caused him great pain, which both exacerbated and instantiated his alcohol use and the pain drugs he sought. That 'occulta' is giving me something to work with, it must be acknowledged.

I've been listening to a Hank Williams playlist I made, which includes songs from The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams. This playlist is, of course, open to suggestions of other songs I should include.


I asked Ann Cannon today, in an email:

...and her answer did not disappoint, including a rundown on the instruction she received from her dad about how Hank Williams sang the songs of the people, and so forth, and how, despite her past-Ann eyeball rolling, present-Ann loves Hank Williams, especially the classics.

Today, I found out that there is some disagreement about whether Hank Williams believed the gospel songs he wrote or not. (In related news, I read Hilton Als today about Beyonce (I know. I am in the grips.) and how she's performing this and that because she wants to be more serious and still make money. GET A GRIP America, musicians who record music want to make money. (There, I said it.)) Anyway, I'm interested not only in the state of Hank Williams' music but in the state of his soul, however he exhibited, recorded, wrote, and performed it.

I am interested in any and all Hank Williams leads, intelligence, sources. Also opinions. Please direct me, internet. I am on a mission.

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Megastore recommends: snap out of it edition.

I am having my classic post-semester let down: feeling generally exhausted, judging my own character harshly, eating Pop-Tarts. (That last item may be just this current post-semester.)

Did I once do two-a-days, while I was working my ass off and keeping my schedule humming like a top? Well, this now seems absurd and stupid, and also my shoulders hurt. Did I once hop out of bed at the crack of dawn, ready to meet the day? Don't be ridiculous. Of course not. Still, I have a few recommendations. For myself, I guess, but sometimes I need to give myself advice, don't you?

1. Wear the shoes you bought awhile ago. I can't be the only person who shops ahead--thinking about spring when there's still snow on the ground, for instance, or even thinking about summer when it's still raining like mad. Cold rain, too, not a gentle 'give the flowers a drink' rain--raining like a mad dog.

But when the rain stops, or pauses, it's good to put on the sandals you bought back in, like, March. Admire the fact that they are red, and that they fit your feet, and--hey!--that they're comfortable. Past you was so freaking smart. Past you foresaw the need for comfortable red sandals that fit, and present you is reaping the benefits. Maybe present you isn't so bad after all? Well, at least present you has cute feet.

2. Smell the roses. No, literally: the literal roses are starting to bloom. How bad can things really be, if there are roses, roses in bud, the first blooms, and many more roses to come (just spitballing here, from previous nature data)?

3. Pick up a book you bought a year ago. Just a week or so ago, I was chatting with my Scotland daughter, who recommended a crime/detective series set in Aberdeenshire in the early Reformation period. (I know! right up my alley!) I was all, Ima go read that. So I looked to see if it was downloadable as a Kindle book, but no. So then I thought, FINE I'll buy it. But Amazon remarked to me that lo, I had purchased this book a year before. For a few seconds, I had a giant question mark hovering over my head, and then I thought WAIT and went to my living room, where the first book in the series sat on my coffee table, where it has been sitting for a whole year. I bought it a year ago because my daughter recommended it to me then, also. This time I am humming along in it and it is grand. Good times!

4. Listen to the same album over and over. And over and over. It can be Junk of the Heart by the Kooks, recommended to you by your son. Or it can be Lemonade, recommended to you by the universe because it is just that good. Either way, you aren't going to go wrong whatsoever. Pro tip: both albums can be worked out to nicely.

5. Second wake up. I know, not everyone can do this, and those of you who can't are going to gnash your teeth at me. But if you are so lucky that you can, the way it works is this: you get up at around 7. You go get the paper. You sit on your couch in your nightie and robe and read it for awhile. You mope around the kitchen, check your Instagram, think dire thoughts, consider a cup of tea. Eat a half banana. Then you grab your reformation crime/detective series novel set in Aberdeenshire and get back under the covers. You read three pages and then curl back into sleep. If you've timed things right, the sheets are probably still warm. Sleep till whenever.

Will you have wasted a precious hour or so in this fashion? I submit to you that this is the wrong way to look at it. The way to look at it is you will be well-rested for the rest of your day, and what could be wrong with that? Nothing, America. Nothing whatsoever.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Megastore FAQ: Mid-May edition.

Q: How long since the semester ended?

A: Depends on the meaning of 'over.' It's been thirteen days since I finished my grades. But little summer projects, work-related, are lining up one two three four five with no end in sight.

Q: Have you learned to say NO yet?

A: No. Not really.

Q: What flowers have you planted?

A: A heliotrope and three miniature roses.

Q: Is that enough flowers?

A: It is the opposite of enough flowers. It is a scarcity of flowers. It is one trillionth of the flowers I need to plant.

Q: But don't you already have flowers blooming in your yard?

A: Sure. I guess.

Q: So...isn't 'one trillionth' an exaggeration, really?

A: No, it is 'a hyperbole.'

Q: What's the difference? Doesn't 'hyperbole' mean 'exaggeration'?

A: 'Hyperbole' means 'exaggeration for rhetorical effect.' For rhetorical effect.

Q: Seems like splitting hairs.

A: Yes, but for rhetorical effect. So, totally justified.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Running all over and not standing still.

Today, I am thinking about the summers of yesteryear, when I ate my breakfast on the porch and under the trees and flowers and so forth.  Leisurely, is what I'm saying. Why is there so far not enough leisure? Am I forgetting what leisure is? Maybe this is leisure? If so, I feel that the character of leisure has changed, and I am not in favor of that.

In other news, things could be tidier around here.

Even so: while hopping into the car to go hither and yon today, I did manage to notice this:

A video posted by Lisa Bickmore (@megastore) on

and I felt like this was something to aspire to. Slow motion flowers, and a breeze. This is the new desideratum. This, and maybe breakfast on the porch. And clean counters. But I would be happy with just this.


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