It's Winter

Not quite yet, but on more than one level…

It feels like it: it was in the mid forties last night and made for a delightful night’s sleep. So much so that I’m incredibly groggy and disoriented right now. It was very cold in my room when I woke up because I went to bed with the ceiling fan on AND the windows open. Oh well. The A/C was off anyway.

Super-cool piano tuning man, or we’ll call him Ichabod Crane, came and fixed my piano. It sounds so nice now. He said he really liked the model I had, that it was very well built and it would last forever, as he had seen some of the same that were very old and held their own.

I didn’t realize how out of tune the Wurly was. The sound quality was pretty sorry, and as he tuned it, it all cleared up. The notes were so wolfy, especially below middle C, that there was this growl (that was kinda cool for playing real loud grungy stuff in the bass but that I won’t really miss now that it’s in tune) when you played anything down there. Now the notes are actually intelligible and sound clearer. It’s more enjoyable to play… much more.

So much so that I started playing something that I dismissed as too difficult a few months ago. It’s also called “Winter,” (except I don’t have some of that first ten or fifteen seconds down cuz it’s not in the book). It sounds crisp and clear (relatively speaking) on the new’n’improved Wurly and that’s exciting. My cousin had a friend who did a more complex version (more true to the real thing than what’s in the book) for a piano recital) and he started to learn it. It’s a great piece and is coming along well, and I may have another chance to go see the Bechstein this weekend and give it another go, although I’m thinking of playing the little bro (the 7’) than the concert grand… not so intimidating.

I’m going to go enjoy the weather all day today… au revoir.


Lincoln Memorial: 6

“Well, I’ve been here thirteen years now. No big deal, really, because I’ve got no other plans. I like it here.”

“That’s very impressive. Most diners aren’t even open for thirteen years, and you’ve held a job that long? Congratulations.” He realized she wasn’t terribly busy, but seemed not to want to talk much, so he started again: “You must have seen a lot of changes over the years. What’s changed the most since you’ve started?” He was trying to get her to open up to him. He could tell clearly that she did not have any close acquaintances, or if she did, they were in the form of cash registers and aprons. He looked at her left hand, and there were no rings, and there were no other signs of family or human interaction.

Before she could answer the question, and he could see her preparation to respond, she was called away, and headed toward the kitchen almost violently. Mr. Horner paid no attention at first, but soon heard shouting and ruckus from behind him, as he had turned to look out over the diners and through the windows that looked out over the street. He turned back to see what could have been going on, and as he did, he could see through the food window that something had been ordered wrong, or that there was another error somewhere, and also that Polly’s response was not favorable. In fact, she was yelling at a young man who was nearly in tears. She grabbed him by the back of the arm and dragged him around behind a corner where they couldn’t be seen; they were still heard, however, and when the tirade stopped, she came out from behind the corner red-faced and clearly trying to regain her composure. The young boy, no older than fifteen or sixteen, was foreign and in tears. Mr. Horner could not immediately decide whether to make eye contact with his former acquaintance. She deserved to be acknowledged for what she had done, but she also did not seem to deserve that much human interaction. To further confirm that conclusion, she leaned up against the back wall of the kitchen and lit a cigarette, not relaxed, not passively, but as if it were the lifeblood that kept her heart pumping; it went beyond the act of smoking: it was vile, the greatest act of dependence and craving, and she nearly trembled until it reached her lips. It didn’t take Mr. Horner long to sum her up differently than he had before, and he was also quite sure (that is to say, he knew) he needed to see no more of her than to know what she was like as a person, for he had seen her react in what she thought was privacy. He took the last sip of his coffee, which had become cool and bitter, and left a dollar bill on the table. He walked out.

As he reached the street again, he turned around to see what had transposed since he left. He saw that Polly had gotten the dollar he left and it would have only been appropriate for any average person to look up to acknowledge their customer had left, especially when it was so obvious to even the less discerning person that the (former) customer was standing just outside your window, waiting to see if you would make eye contact. She did not, or not within the brief moment that Mr. Horner would have allowed her to. He walked on, and with the five or six steps he took on the sidewalk and around the corner, any bit of anger or resentment slowly turned into disappointment and sadness. Not for him and the failure to open up to her, but for her failure to recognize kindness when it is shown, and to take it upon herself to donate this damaging mentality to others. He walked around the corner to his right, down a small alley, and this wall (to his right) would have been the wall to his left when he was sitting inside the restaurant, except there were no windows along it. Most of this side would have been the kitchen, and therefore it was all brick. He knew there would have been a few booths on the other side of the wall, and continued around until he reached another corner. The brick wall ended abruptly to go down what looked like an alleyway, but it stopped. It was simply a square space made by the backs of three of the units. The one to the right would have been for the diner. He stepped over some soggy cardboard boxes, walked around some barrels of grease and by a dumpster to reach the rear kitchen door. It was a double door, and was very heavy, as it was made of solid metal. One half was open, and he could smell and hear the sizzling of grease. He knew that if he weren’t careful, Polly would see him, and it would become obvious what he was doing. He waited outside until he heard her voice, and it was far off. He fairly jumped inside the kitchen and looked to his right, where the scolded boy would have been. He was standing over a large industrial range, preparing omelets. He had just finished an order, and there seemed to be a lull in his work. He turned away from Mr. Horner, but did not seem to see him. Mr. Horner waited for him to turn so he could see his badge, and then whispered “Yong…” The boy heard him and looked that way, and Mr. Horner motioned for him to come outside. He took a quick look around and started walking toward the door.



I think I have found the world’s most useless must-have. I want to know where the people are that made this, as well as the location of the people to whom they marketed. Lewis Black said it best: they should “all wear aluminium foil so we know who you are.”


A New Friend

More than one, actually, but this one isn’t a person. It is called the C. Bechstein Model D 280 Concert Grand Piano. I played her today. I Dunno had to go get his glasses, and I took him. We were nearly there and I saw the piano store I wanted to go to months ago to get a heads up on where I could play a harpsichord. I told him we’d have one more errand before we went home. Got the glasses; they’re great. Walked inside the store, and if you haven’t read (rather, since you haven’t read) this great interview with a world-renowned pianist, you won’t be familiar with the discussion about the specific personality she feels each (handmade) piano has, etc., and it was entirely awesome to be in a room full of pianos (something like this one). I walked straight ahead until I met one of the salespeople. I couldn’t have looked to be that interested a party, what with my Jimmy Buffet t-shirt and flip flops on along with a sinussy brother in tow (yes, sinussy, because it’s only appropriate to double the last consonant before adding –y), but I was approached and talked shop for a while. We looked at a few of the pianos in the main part of the store, and they were all Kohler & Campbells. I asked him what else they carried. He gave me a funny look and took me to the next room. There was a Steinway, a Knabe or two, and a few Seilers, which are supposed to be extraordinary. I asked him (of course, and with a little bit of a sinister grin) if he had and Bösendorfers. He looked at me as if (and without needing) to say “are you kidding? Who do you think we are?” and asked me to follow him. There were two pianos in this room. I walked down an aisle that led to a monstrosity on a stage of sorts, only demarcated from the rest of the floor because it was hardwood and not carpet; it was not raised. There lay the Bechstein, and accompanying it was (unfortunately) one of the most hideous things I have ever seen. It’s called the Suspension, and all I can say is the one on my car looks cooler than this thing. It played pretty well, but was just hideous. It’s the kind of thing that should be the size of Washington’s head on the quarter and go inside a snow globe with a bunch of (also miniature) metallic-ish things.

Anyway, the Bechstein was unbelievable. I told him about the Kawai I had played (which I thought was nice) and he almost looked at me with pity. This thing is 9’2” long, which makes it an inch longer than the aforementioned pianist’s Bösendorfer 275’s (two of them, to be exact). Supposedly Bösey is having some financial trouble and isn’t as great a piano maker as I’ve been told (rather, have read), according to (we’ll call him) I Like Seiler. I played a few of the things I knew on the Bechstein, especially (and obviously) those with booming bass lines. It was just perfectly clean, in tune, and responded to anything. It was a thing of beauty. I’m almost willing to say, though, that the B 210 had a more comfortable feel; maybe it was just more broken in. I played a poor, poor Steinway they were giving away for nearly nothing. It was sorely abused and needed some TLC. Anyway, ILS made a comment that I was playing octaves between my thumb and ring finger; I guess I never thought about doing that, but it’s far more comfortable than using my pinky. Long story short was we talked shop and discussed pianos and dealers and such, and I was told I could come back whenever I wanted to play whatever I wanted (that wasn’t already sold). And I didn’t even have to speak any foreign languages.

That story is for later. (Also there is a new Just Because link)





Lincoln Memorial: 5

Mr. Horner walked out of the pharmacy door with his right hand in his pocket, jingling his change, and his left hand buttoning the top button of his jacket. He felt like smiling, but didn’t, and stopped at the end of the curb. He looked down the way he had come, back north toward home, and then to his left, west, toward the industrial part of town. It was clear that this street, Gamble Street, did not lead toward the affluent part of town. Even where he was, still inside the city proper, but on the southern end, this was one of the roads that everything backed up to: there was no street frontage, no storefronts, no shops or homes, but essentially a back alley road that was a two-way street instead of a one way thru street. He didn’t want to go down it, but felt like he should for that very reason. He eased his feelings by making a mental note to do that another day, maybe Tuesday.

Delaney Street ran to the right, and it led completely out of town, toward the farming community, and there was nothing to do out there, nor was there any way to get there in any moderate length of time without a car. That was immediately dismissed. He had already decided not to take Gamble, couldn’t go back north toward home, and wasn’t going to the farming community. He continued to head south on McLean, like he was doing before, but only one block, so he could walk a few blocks west without taking Gamble. He would then head north on one of the presidents’ streets so he wasn’t retracing his steps. This would eventually lead him to Wilkinson’s, which was a few blocks northwest of his home, but farther than he had been that morning. Virtually no time had passed for Mr. Horner to calculate his next move, but to him, it seemed an eternity.

As he walked down McLean Avenue, he noticed something about the brick buildings on either side of the road; this far down the street, outside of the nice residential and rebuilt part of town, some of the older buildings were abandoned, the windows broken in or shattered. Some of the brick sills still shelved shards of glass that were dirty and colored from the time they’ve spent exposed to the weather. Most of these buildings were factories, and therefore were built higher than most of the other shops or houses, and Mr. Horner couldn’t look inside the windows; rather, all he could see was the ceiling as they were too high off the ground to look anywhere else. He saw that the wall ended a short walk ahead and then resumed. He walked down to see that a set of stairs had been recessed inside the building, and walked up them just enough to look at the floor. It had some remnants or other of manufacturing products and materials, but they were so old he couldn’t even tell what they were. As he looked closer, he realized that they were badly charred, and the building was no longer in use from some structural damage from a fire. He reached into his pocket and flicked a penny inside the building and it clinked and rolled a few feet on the concrete floor. Mr. Horner walked back down the stairs and headed south as he was before.

He was a little bit disappointed with his solitude. He was heading away from the city, and even though it was to get back into the city without backtracking, he felt as if he were wasting time. There were no people around and he was walking alone. He stopped what he was doing and turned around. He walked back up the stairs he had just come down and looked down the other end of the building. There was light coming through the other side. He decided to cut through the building instead of walking around the empty blocks. He hurried through, not running or jogging, but sure not to spend any unnecessary time in a burned building. He came out the other side and there were people. Only a few of them, but cars were passing by, and there were some businessmen walking up and down North Street. He had only come over one block, but the difference was noticeable. He waited until anyone that would have seen him come from the building had already left, and headed back north.

Now feeling a little better about his progress, and also realizing he was getting closer to Wilkinson’s, as well as the time when he could actually go there, he started walking, and stopped to go inside at a diner on his right. It was a greasy place, one where breakfast was served all day, and the silverware was almost expected to have smudges, and the table would certainly be sticky. Mr. Horner walked in and sat at far end of the bar. People around him were eating waffles and pancakes, and it seemed that most of them had been there for a while. He was somewhat secluded from everyone else, and he waited for the waitress to approach him. She looked to be a woman who would consider this her career, and therefore also seemed to consider it entirely normal if people did not greet or address her before giving their breakfast order. Mr. Horner moved his head to be able to read the rest of her name, as part of it was covered by the lapel of her work blouse, a blue and white vertically striped short sleeve shirt. She had curly blonde hair, and it appeared that it would have been curlier if Mr. Horner had come in earlier in the morning. She was probably younger than she looked, and he said “Hello, Polly,” and was about to continue with a request when he stopped and asked, “Is breakfast still being served?” Knowing it was, he looked up from the menu at her and smiled as he waited for her response. He watched closely the look on her face, and he was first met with some disdain and irritation, which changed to pleasantness as soon as she looked up from her dirty counter.

“Yes, sir, it is.”

“Oh, good. Well, I’ll just have a cup of coffee for now. I may have to leave soon.” Polly asked him how he would like his coffee, and he pretended to debate, and decided on having it black. She poured him a cup of coffee and walked away. Mr. Horner looked around near her work station. She was the cashier, and he looked for trinkets, pictures, magnets, or something that belonged to her. He saw along the back wall a few plaques that had peoples’ names on them. He saw one with the first name Larry “T,” but could not read the last name. He saw Larry at the other end of the bar at the stovetop. His plaque was for employee of the year. He saw a few more below those, but couldn’t find those employees at work today. Below that was a plaque with a picture on it that was clearly Polly, but it was a few years old. He looked closer at it, and it was to commemorate her tenth year as an employee. He was very surprised, not that she would keep a job, but that anyone would have such tenure, if it could be called that, at a breakfast diner. They usually didn’t even stay open that long. He was sipping on his coffee and had picked up a section of the newspaper in which he was not interested when she came back by. He coolly dropped the newspaper onto the counter from where it had been suspended in front of his face. He swallowed the coffee he had just sipped and asked her about the plaque.


Das ist blöd... and recruiting PrePoly's

It’s been an entire week since I’ve posted. And even longer than that since I’ve actually talked in my post.

So new things:

Installment 5 of Lincoln Memorial is in the works. (I don’t know if you guys realize I’m writing this as we go; it’s not all done. Y’all are about as in the know with the story as I am, minus the general outcome.)

I went to the Aquarium. Beautiful.

Writing letters in Turkish to send to people. Met a lady that can proofread them for me.

Learning (not only Turkish but)(probably just SOME) Persian. Have some literature and books and things and some people I need to be able to speak with that I met last weekend with The Doctor, and now I have to learn Persian. I tried to finagle Kimi Stewart to learn a language with me. Here’s why:

I went kayaking on Sunday (that’s not why). My old babysitter (still a great family friend) and her husband are in the Spanish congregation and every year they invite about twenty people or so to go kayaking. This year, however, their boss’s niece (I think) was coming as well. Only thing is, she’s from Germany. She speaks English very well, but I couldn’t help myself. With about a week’s notice and a crash refresher course from Frau Adorable I felt somewhat confident in my German. (Also, I Dunno helped me with some flashcards on the way up there that day). Anyway, I realized on the kayaking trip (all six miles of it), that spending time with a bilingual for a reasonable amount of time (with a small foundation already built), you can very quickly become comfortable (conversant, not fluent) in that language. It made for a very enjoyable (relaxing at times, at times not) six mile journey. The German girl was very pleasant and we talked about languages and school and stuff. Very nice. But back to Persian. I decided from this, as I mentioned earlier, that spending some considerable time with somebody that speaks (or, less desirably, is learning to speak) another language well, is invaluably beneficial to your learning the language yourself. Because we can’t GO to Italy or Romania or Turkey just to learn the language, we have to try to replicate total immersion as best as possible.

That having been said, how nice would it be to have a few friends learning a few different languages, or even just one, and be able to work off of one another. Now, it won’t be as easy as German, because in that case, she was fluent, and I already have some working knowledge of the language, so it was very productive, but you people need to help me out. Learn another language, set aside a few bucks and buy some CDs and a few books, and check out some online radio or podcasts, get some literature in that language (because it’s only printed in 265 langauges), and get cracking. You’ll be all the better for it, and hey, you may even enjoy it. I’m somewhat sad to say that Russian has taken the backburner recently, and I seem to be getting more unfamiliar with it on a daily basis, but that wouldn’t be the case if H’n’B would pony up and work with me on it. (Don’t take that too seriously, H’n’B; it’s just a suggestion). So y’all decide individually what y’all are gonna learn and get crackin’.

I couldn’t help myself at the thought of going to the aquarium: I knew that in the city, at the world’s largest aquarium, I would see some foreigners. I put the “Good News,” booklet in my cargo pants pocket and carried it along. For those of you that haven’t been, it’s breathtaking, unlike anything you’ve ever seen, even for somebody whose family has a 40-year diving tradition. It’s indescribable, so I won’t try, but you must go see it for yourself. It’s very well done, well built, well organized, and was not crowded when we went. Very leisurely and awesome. Anyway, I, of course, met these two women in the cafeteria who were from Ethiopia. I just walked over and asked what language they were speaking, and it was hysterical because they said “an Ethiopian language,” as if I wouldn’t have known which one it was, so I responded with “Amharic or Tigrinya?” and they were shocked. One responded and asked me if I spoke Amharic, and I said no. They also spoke Arabic and Oromo, the latter of which I am not as familiar with. Anyway, I talked with them for a while and they were very nice.

What else? You all know about Turkish… I’ll talk about that later.

I’m working on Lincoln Memorial as I can, and may have it up by this evening. I’ve taken a few weeks off of running, and am starting up again today, so that’ll be nice.



Lincoln Memorial: 4

It was only after their nice conversation and Herman’s reaction to it that Mr. Horner realized the impression he had given. Apparently Herman thought of him as either the owner of the home or the real estate agent. This seemed unprofessional on Mr. Horner’s part, for he didn’t want to be untruthful. It seemed this could cause some complications if it carried on. It was nothing to worry about now, though, because Herman was had gone out for a smoke. Mr. Horner had decided to join him to explain the situation, despite his aversion to all things that involved smoking. He peeked his head outside the front door, but only after seeming to excuse himself from the rest of the group, who were not necessarily watching him as much as they were following his lead, you could say. He looked outside, and Mr. Bernstein was gone. It had started to drizzle, and Mr. Horner stepped outside and shut the door behind him. He hadn’t noticed on his way in, but there were a few spider webs in the corners where the front door was set in about six feet. There were no spots on the concrete from the rain where he was standing, and he stepped out and turned in each direction to see if his acquaintance was standing in the rain somewhere. He was nowhere to be found.
Mr. Horner walked back inside and most of the group had gone upstairs. Only three had remained on the main floor, and were still in the library when Mr. Horner came back inside. His initial reaction was to leave the house and be about his business, but he was spotted. A gentleman in metal-rimmed spectacles came toward him and had the Aeneid in his hand. He was clearly interested in Latin, or was a teacher of some sort. They had a brief conversation. Mr. Horner saw no gain to this conversation, but did not want to be rude or dismissive, so they talked briefly, and he eased the man’s inquiries about his own interest in the language and its history. In a calculated, but not even in the slightest bit noticeable, move, Mr. Horner rather interrupted and suddenly acted as if he had just remembered something very important. He asked the man, Mr. Garland, as he then found out, if he had four quarters in exchange for a dollar. He shook the man’s hand warmly, gave commendation about their brief discussion, and with a hearty wave and a goodbye to the other visitors, saw himself out the front door into the steamy street the rain shower had created.
For a brief moment, he had forgotten what he was going, and paused to see that he had just missed stepping in a puddle. He hovered his foot over the surface of the water until he just felt it touch, and then he moved away, and dropped a penny in the water; he waited for the distinct plink of the coin hitting the surface of the water and the concrete. He walked south, the direction he was heading before he stopped to see the home. He reached the intersection and quickly scanned it for anything of consequence. There was nothing, but he saw some phonebooks at the corner of the street. These were of consequence, though. He looked at them. They were clearly the new phonebooks, because they were still wrapped in plastic bags. He repeated “phonebooks, phonebooks, phonebooks…” and walked on.
He needed to get to the corner opposite him, so he first had to cross heading south, then, waiting his turn again, walked east to the corner drugstore. It was still a little too early for lunch, not because of the time; it was almost noon. It was only because he wouldn’t get home (hopefully) until around five o’clock, and he didn’t want to have to get something else between lunch and dinner. It would ruin his appetite.
He had some business to take care of here, though. He had read about it in the paper, and now was a good time to take a good look at it. He went up and down the aisles, giving only brief glances to the billboards that hung above each of them, stating the contents. He found the pharmaceuticals, and went through eyes, ears, nose, throat, but couldn’t find what he was looking for. He went to the cash register, and no one was there yet. He saw the new phonebooks behind the desk here, too. Mr. Horner helped himself to a peppermint out of a jar that lay on the counter. He put a dime down in front of him and rang the bell. The cashier, a stout German-looking man with thin gray hair rushed to the counter and greeted Mr. Horner. Mr. Horner told him he had taken a mint, and wanted to pay for it before he forgot. They were five cents for two, so he grabbed another, and then a third, and put those two in his pocket. He slid the dime across the counter and was given three pennies in change.
“How else can I help you today?” said the clerk.
“Well, I saw an ad in the paper for some non-smoking product. I’ve been told by my wife that I need to leave cigarettes, or she’s leaving me. I haven’t been able to quit, and I saw your ad in the paper for a medicinal aid of some sort. It’s not on the shelves, though…”
“Well, yes, sir,” said the clerk, with an air that he was confident of his answer. “It’s meant to take the place of the need for cigarettes with natural substances, and slowly break a smoker from the need to smoke. The only problem is, it’s being shipped from California, and it’s late. It should come in some time later. I could…”
“I see.” Mr. Horner interrupted, which was very unlike him. He started almost confrontationally by saying “Here’s the problem,” as he leaned on the counter.
“I’m going to be out of town all of next week, and I don’t know how long it takes something like this to work, but I’d like for it to be at my house by the time I get home. I won’t have time to come by and get it when I get home because, you see, I’m down here today on business. Can you ship it? I can pay for it all now.”
The money exchanged hands, and it came time to get the name and address the clerk would be sending the product to. Mr. Horner tore off part of a napkin and wrote down a name in bold letters. He handed it to the cashier and explained:
“I’ve just moved into the area, and don’t know if my new address is being used yet. Here’s my name. Look it up in the new phonebook and use that address to ship it. It’ll get to me that way. If not, you can call my number. It’s on there, too.” Mr. Horner handed the napkin to the cashier, and bid him goodbye with a wave. The cashier did the same and said “thank you, Mr. Bernstein! Have a nice day!”


Midnight Snack

I wasn’t feeling very well last night, and sat down to watch television. I watched two or three episodes of Dirty Jobs because that Mike Rowe is hysterical. Turns out he’s also a professional opera singer, and used to perform with the Baltimore Symphony. Who’da thunk it? Anyway, there was a really neato program on the History Channel that came on afterward about the Dragon’s Triangle. It came on at 8 pm. I fell asleep at 8:30 and woke up around 9:30. I Dunno was asleep very near a bag of chips that I’m sure he grabbed before napping. After some difficulty in waking him up, I finished off the chips, and we went upstairs. I promptly went to bed, as I hadn’t yet woken from the fog I was in during the nap. It was one of those very intense naps where you awaken to realize you don’t know where you are, what you were last doing, or why. I knew I pay for this, and would probably wake up in the middle of the night. I was asleep before 10 pm.
I slept very hard and got some good rest. I rolled over this morning and checked the time to see if I should sleep in or go have breakfast. It didn’t look too dark outside, and I squinted to look at my clock across the room. I thought it said 5 am. I figured I’d sleep a few extra hours and go back to bed. I squinted harder. It was 2 am. Surprise!
Having subconsciously planned on this happening, I went downstairs and got myself a huge glass (jug) of water and some saltines. I turned on my lamp and grabbed my reading glasses. Armed with my Urdu binder, textbook, and a good pen, I stayed up until about 4 studying script and vocabulary. It was excellent. I started feeling tired again, and laid down with my MP3 player to listen to some tunes before bed. Some of my favorite albums came up on the random playlists and I listened and silently sang along. I also decided there were a few more songs I was going to try to learn. I went to sleep with a small amount of difficulty and woke up around eight. It was like one of those weekend days where you wake up at seven or eight and watch an hour of television, and then go back to sleep for a few extra hours. It was delightful.
In other news, I updated the “just because,” link, and for those of you that are keeping up with it, there will be a new installment of Lincoln Memorial later this afternoon (doubtful) or early tomorrow (more plausible) if not tomorrow evening (almost definite).
I slept very hard and got some good rest. I rolled over this morning and checked the time to see if I should sleep in or go have breakfast. It didn’t look too dark outside, and I squinted to look at my clock across the room. I thought it said 5 am. I figured I’d sleep a few extra hours and go back to bed. I squinted harder. It was 2 am. Surprise!

Having subconsciously planned on this happening, I went downstairs and got myself a huge glass (jug) of water and some saltines. I turned on my lamp and grabbed my reading glasses. Armed with my Urdu binder, textbook, and a good pen, I stayed up until about 4 studying script and vocabulary. It was excellent. I started feeling tired again, and laid down with my MP3 player to listen to some tunes before bed. Some of my favorite albums came up on the random playlists and I listened and silently sang along. I also decided there were a few more songs I was going to try to learn. I went to sleep with a small amount of difficulty and woke up around eight. It was like one of those weekend days where you wake up at seven or eight and watch an hour of television, and then go back to sleep for a few extra hours. It was delightful.

In other news, I updated the “just because,” link, and for those of you that are keeping up with it, there will be a new installment of Lincoln Memorial later this afternoon (doubtful) or early tomorrow (more plausible) if not tomorrow evening (almost definite).


Lincoln Memorial: 3

As Mr. Horner walked back past his home, he decided not to get too far from the city center. He had planned on going to Wilkinson’s for lunch, but was on his way already, and would get there too early for lunch. That was no problem. He saw another house for sale, but this one was even better than the first: it was an open house. He saw a few cars outside and knew that the real estate agent and a few interested parties would be there. The outside of this particular building had copper gutters, and the windowsills were painted a thick white. As he walked closer, he noticed that they had obviously been painted a number of times and that gave the building a rustic look. He liked rustic, and walked around the opposite side of the two sets of stairs to approach the front from the far end. He stood on the landing, just outside the range of the covered area before the front door, and looked up. The sky had gotten a little darker, and it looked like it may rain. He looked around and went inside, but not before admiring some of the window boxes that hung a few floors above him.

He walked in to see more that attracted his attention: the floor was done in hardwood, with the antique style boards that were five inches wide instead of two and a half. They were stained a deep ebony color, and looked almost black, but were just light enough to notice the grain in the wood. Despite the dark color of the floors, the interior looked neither dark nor desolate. The ceilings were high and painted stark white. Some of the walls were brick, and created a very handsome look with sconces and other wrought iron things on the walls. There was a brick half wall around part of the dining room with old-ish style columns that met the ceiling. That was to the left, and he jingled his pocket as he walked by.

Mr. Horner hadn’t noticed that people had started to notice him, not with surprise, but a sense of awareness that he was standing in the foyer and hadn’t moved for a while. He walked around to the right where there sat a baby grand piano; that was a room unto itself despite the fact that there were no walls that set it off as such. There really weren’t many walls on this floor: the only ones were those that surrounded the staircase, which was rather centered among all the rooms, with walls all around it. This place was very large. It had a full first floor and a few bedrooms on the second. Mr. Horner walked past the piano and beyond that was a very open family room, with a fireplace and elegant antique furniture that was very attractive and appropriate, without making anything look old. There were some gold picture frames and candle holders in this room, and he thought of his wife. He would have to bring her here, but he was too busy today.

The family room, sitting area and all, centered around the fireplace, was probably twenty feet long, running toward the rear of the building. At the end of this was a library. Again, it wasn’t a room that was walled off, but it was in the far right corner of the first floor and Mr. Horner, or anyone for that matter, immediately recognized that when they got to that corner, the function of the area had changed. There were only two walls of books, and they formed a corner. There were two very plush leather chairs that faced either of these walls, with a table between them. He liked how the room was professional and relaxing without being ostentatious. He decided to take a look at the books, and immediately he noticed a few that were leather-bound, very fancy looking. They had all been taken out recently and weren’t really put back. They were Virgil’s Aeneid, Ovid’s Metamorphosis, and Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, along with Cervantes’ Don Quixote. He picked up the Metamorphosis, and opened it up. He was delighted to see that, not only was it not dusty, it was studied and was in Latin. He opened it up and began reading. He was glad to find this copy; it was a good translation, one done by one of the foremost Latin professors of his day. He had read seven or eight lines, and then realized, as did the other visitors, that he had begun to read out loud. He didn’t seem surprised, and neither did the other visitors, for some had gathered around to listen. Mr. Horner continued until he felt satisfied and put the book aside. He looked at Don Quixote and the others, and realized that they were all in their original languages. He opened up Don Quixote to the famous windmill scene. He reached into his pocket and put a coin in the binding, not too hard, not even to mark the pages it lay between, but enough that it would stay where it was. He closed it gently and put it away. He introduced himself confidently to a short, prematurely balding man with large glasses. The man said his name was Herman and he began to ask Mr. Horner a few questions about the age of the house and Mr. Horner began to discuss the “period,” of many of the “pieces,” He described the age of the hardwood, the period of design of the doorways, and elaborated on the carvings and ornamentation of the furniture, explaining why it was designed as such and where it probably came from based on that. They walked around a bit more, and discussed the real estate market locally, the trend for much of the housing lately, and where Herman Bernstein had come from. It was a nice conversation, but was terminated when Mr. Bernstein went outside to smoke. He didn’t look like a smoker, but he went outside. John Horner did not smoke, and was rather disappointed that his new acquaintance did.