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Friday, April 25, 2003

The schizophrenic weather is making me a little crazy. I don't know when to go out and when to stay tucked in. When I drove to the post office this morning, it was right after we got pummeled by a cloudburst that rattled the roof, but I didn't even have to use my windshield wipers. Then on the way home I almost pulled over, because it was raining so hard I could barely see, even with the wipers on at turbo speed.

My wipers have at least five different speeds, and I'm having plenty of chances to get used to them. There are three different intermittent levels, but it's hard to tell the difference among them. The fastest setting is a little too manic to try to drive through. It's like playing bumper cars under a strobe light.

It wasn't hard to concentrate on work today, with November making a surprise appearance outside my windows. When it was raining, it was dark and loud. There will be standing water in the driveway for at least the next two weeks, after the storm filled the ruts again today. The deepest ones are under the eucalyptus trees, where no sun can get through to dry them out.

Yet for a while this afternoon we saw the sun. It looked almost like spring again, but when I walked out to get the mail I could feel the icy wind cutting through me like tiny spears. At least that took all the guesswork out of whether I was going to do any yard work or not. Not today, thanks. Not tomorrow either, probably.

The weather is no more schizophrenic than the Boss, and it doesn't interfere with my getting things done nearly as much as he does. He asks me questions in a kind of shorthand that makes me wonder if he thinks I can read his mind. "Did Hans ever pay us for that forklift?" This comes totally out of the blue, as soon as I answer the phone.

Well, first of all, who the hell is Hans? And what's he doing with our forklift that took five years to pay off?

It turns out that "Hans" is shorthand for one of our clients, and we had to rent a forklift to do some extra work for him. He was supposed to reimburse us, and no, he hasn't yet. Glad I could clear that up.

"Remember the letter we wrote to that lawyer?" Which one? When? "It was a month ago, about the interest we're trying to collect on the late payment for the job we did in Marysville." That was a lawyer we wrote that letter to? "I want to write the same letter to another lawyer, to see if we can get some action."

Wait just a minute. Have we heard from the first lawyer yet? "Have you heard from him?" No. "Maybe I ought to call him." Good idea.

It turns out that the first lawyer has been working on our case, and is ready to file papers, and was just about to send us an agreement to sign (and a bill to pay). If I hadn't spoken up, the Boss would have hired another lawyer to pursue the same couple of thousand dollars. Oh, wouldn't that have been fun! They could band together and sue both us and our delinquent client.

The Boss's calls often seem to be in a version of English that Professor Irwin Corey learned from Norm Crosby. (And if you know those references, you're as old as I am. They're both still alive, by the way.) I have to translate his questions into standard English and then fill in the gaps and lacunae. I don't know which one of us is more amazed when I come up with an answer, but I always do.

24 Apr 03

The far trees on a cloudy spring day.

Last night I watched The Crime of Padre Amaro, the biggest movie in the history of the Mexican cinema and one I would recommend unless you are easily offended or Catholic. If you happen to be an easily offended Catholic, please see it and let me know how you feel about the woman who feeds the Host to her cat.

I actually liked this film about an earnest young priest who finds his good intentions challenged by corrupt church politics, a beautiful young woman and his own ambition. This is a fascinating character who is almost equally sympathetic and repugnant. I liked him. And hated him.

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It's okay to say the Giants were lucky to beat the Phillies tonight in the rain in Philadelphia. Dropped fly balls and bad umpire calls contributed to their five-run explosion in the eighth inning. But you have to take advantage of that kind of luck, or you lose it. If you don't make the most of it, it becomes someone else's luck. The Phillies' luck ran out tonight, and the Giants beat them, 7-4. It was a lucky win, but it counts.

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Half As Much
"You have to know what the minimum acceptable result is, and then expend as little effort as possible to get to that point."

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