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Montecristo Captain Quixote


The World Line of the Horizon Star

Some would say I was a lost man in a lost world

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Montecristo Captain Quixote

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I have been out practicing random acts of wanton consensual Capitalism. I admit it. Hi, my name's Bob, and I am a Capitalist Pig. I really did need to get out of the house. There is entirely too much stressful crap going on lately. I really have got a pile of worries that have been lapping up to my chin, and I needed a diversion. I didn't go quite so far as full-blown retail therapy (although I am a believer in such, under the right conditions) but... Gah. I need to send out holiday cards this year so I went for the nearest Hallmark store. That happened to be in Stoneridge Mall, over in Pleasanton. I confess, shopping is kind of cool. If that sounds less than masculine, blame my mother and grandmother. As a boy, they used to take me shopping and mall-crawling with them all the time, as map-reader and native bearer, and I kind of got hooked on it. It's better with company though, especially women, who always want to buy the damnedest things. They're like urban hunting dogs. They flush out the damndest quarry in the mall -- all kinds of interesting stuff you'd never notice by yourself. Ah well, it was fun enough by myself anyway.

I bought myself a card to send my mom, as her birthday is this Friday, and a couple of boxes of holiday cards...and I warn my friends: I'm not afraid to use them. Now, if I can just get them all written out and sent before more than one or two days pass so that people will see them before next Christmas. I get funny, non-religious cards, in the first place because I have a warped and active sense of humor, in the second, I can send them to atheist or non-Christian friends, and in the third, because I myself am not a believer, either. If anyone I know sees this and thinks I don't know your address, you're welcome to send me an e-mail with your address and that way I'll be sure to send you out a card.

It was an interesting adventure. Stoneridge is a two-level deal. It's anchored by Macy's and J.C. Penney’s and I believe, one other department store...maybe. What a place. The jazzy Christmas Muzak was going full swing and the Santa-land thing was up and running, and Saint Nick was out there schmoozing the miniature people. Shockingly enough, there were very few takers for giving Santa the wish list in person, but then kids were a bit scarce at that hour anyway. I have yet to talk a girlfriend into sitting on Santa's lap for a picture, but I have tried before. That's always fun. Huh. Maybe I should have consulted with the venerable dispenser of holiday largess and seen if he could fix me up with something hot and sweet. Who am I kidding -- have we not seen Mrs. Clause?! Ohhh-kaaay. Maybe that's not such a good idea and I should continue to rely on my own slow but redoubtable recognizance.

The food smells were driving me nuts as soon as I came in the door. Fortunately, will power in my grasp, I proceeded to Hallmark first and accomplished my mission. A side trip to the bookstore also produced a nifty textbook on the Unix Bash shell, the mysteries of which, I have been attempting to deepen my understanding. Unix and I go way back. It's a great operating system. Heh. I love bookstores. The ex and I addicted our daughters on books at a very young age too. Some of Jackie's very first words were "Book-a! Book-a!" plaintively spoken to us when she thought we were going to exit the bookstore without getting her a book.

I was wandering past one of those conversation-pit rest areas when I heard some twenty-something lady address me: "XYZ, My Brother." Yee Gahds! Yup. It was me. I think I left my brains at work today. When in the hell did that happen. In an attempt to keep the mortification from going terminal, I shot back, "Thanks for catching my front, Sister!" but the line really lacks impact when it is delivered out of a face that looks like Rudolph's nose. Oh, that'll teach me to linger too long in front of Victoria's Secret with my hand in my pocket! Gah! Call me Aqualung. That's right, don't stare, Baby. He'll leap outta there and bite you...all three and a half inches of that beefy python. (I think I should stick to metric measurements, which are easier on the ego.) Augghhh! I shudder to think that I had been walking around like that since leaving the house. Great Hod! Short attention-span theater for sure. Shoot me now, please.

So, after surreptitiously recombobulating my wayward raiment, I finished my tour of the facility. There's a Wetzel's Pretzels there. They smelled fantastic, but I wasn't going to buy one until I saw the pepperoni twist pretzel. Yum! It was like a pizza-pretzel. Of course I couldn't resist. Later, I was seduced by that naughty vixen, Mrs. Fields, and her cruelly delicious semi-sweet chocolate chip cookies. Later than that, I gave thanks that Mrs. Fields had charmed me with her wiles, or at least her wares, before I noticed Ms. See's fine candy establishment. Damn! Important safety tip: do not visit the mall on an empty stomach. That mall was full of a good number of interesting-looking dining establishments.

On the way to the exit, I noticed a movie poster for Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events" which is out this Friday. Naturally, I immediately called up Jackie and left a message for her to see if she and her sister want to visit this weekend and see it. They've read all of the books. Next Monday, the ex and her squeeze toy are departing with them to visit his parents in Michigan and hers in Ohio and they won't be back until after the first of the year.

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I sure miss See's. I knew things had hit critical mass when I was on a first-name basis with the saleshelp there at my local mall.

See's put out a great collector Barbie a couple of years ago which I bought my girls: a Barbie dressed in the black and white uniform, packaged in a box which was a diorama of a See's store, complete with fake candies and the little See's paper bag. Of course I never let the girls touch the thing.

Oh yes...candy...chocolate...food of the gods.

See's, the chocolate -- sieze the chocolate! When I was going to the mall as a child with my mom and grandmother, they used to buy me a block of white chocolate at the confectioner's counter. They shopped at a big department store local to Ohio called "Lazarus," which has a confections department.

"after surreptitiously recombobulating my wayward raiment" may well be the best clause I've read this year (no holiday pun intended).

I love bash. Scripting in it is a bitch to get used to (what the fuck is this "if [[ a -eq b && -n c ]]; then stuff" crap?) but quite fun when you do.

Addicting one's children to books is one of the better things one can do for them. It's on Phil's and my (fairly short) list of goals for our hypothetical ones.

It occured to me when we were up in Berky this past weekend that you're not so far in the wild blue yonder that we can't kidnap you (or be kidnapped) for coffee and surely entertaining conversation, or something of that ilk. (I like the expression "something of that ilk" but knowing its origin makes me cringe almost any time I want to use it.) Of course, I don't remember where specifically you are, but if it's near enough that I've heard of places you go to, it's not too far for Phil to want to drive on little to no notice. Interested?

No, I'm not too far at all.

I live in Livermore and I work in Alameda, and I often hang out at Robert's house in Berkeley. I think meeting you and Phil would be really cool, but I kind of doubt that anything could be arranged before the first of next year.

Yeah, I like Bash and Unix too. Right now I'm running Cygwin on top of XP. I've always been good with regular expressions and I've lately started beefing up my facility with AWK and SED.

Re: No, I'm not too far at all.

Robert? master0rob? Or is there a third person here I'm misunderstanding?

Mm, regular expressions. I was disappointed that my intro to *nix class didn't cover them :) I know the basics but without practice it's hard to remember everything.

Re: No, I'm not too far at all.

Robert doesn't have an LJ. I just mention him often, since he and I are working on a personal project together, which I have been calling "McGuffin."

It is said that the true Unix-head would be able to type his name into ed and predict the result.

Re: No, I'm not too far at all.

Ahh, righto. Just got confused 'cause I know one.

And ROFL. I never learned ed, I really ought to. :)

Only if you're a massochist.

SED is one thing. ED is just self torture. Nobody wants to use a line editor for anything anymore.

Re: Only if you're a massochist.

Oh, they're not so bad. I've used vi in line mode for things.

Woo, constrain that python, my good fellow! It's liable to leap out and strike!

I do believe you have my address but let me know if you'd like it again. Speaking of which, I find "Wetzel's Pretzels" amusing in light of my locale. ;)

Something you need to do this coming year - if possible - is come visit Foots and I in Cleveburg. I was hoping to make it to Napa to visit E in the spring, but I don't know how feasible that's going to be now.

Heh! More like it's on strike.

My problem is that the big head gets all the blood, and it's very particular about intimate companionship. I'm still trying to make sense of my "love life." It still looks like sanskrit to me. Heh.

Yes, I do have your address and you are already on the list. I'm almost certain that I sent you mine, but if you don't have it, I'll send it again. I like hearing from you and a card would be really nice!

As for visiting...well...I'm going to be unexpectedly back in Ohio, for reasons which are kind of chewing me up right now, and about which I may post more later this evening. I don't know how feasible a visit on such short notice would be, or if I'll even be able to get away from my family to do so, but perhaps we could figure something? I realize that the timing absolutely could not be lousier -- 'tis the season to be up to one's eyebrows, but there you go. I will be in the neighborhood from the 23rd until the first of the year.

Re: Heh! More like it's on strike.

I don't think that's a problem at all.

I won't be sending out cards this year, but am collecting addresses to do something special for friends - you are included, of course.

I hope no one's ill in your family! If you can't get away, I'd understand. I will be busy on the 25th, of course, and the 28th and 31st, but am free other days. 26th might be best, as it's a Sunday and I can get out to Footle's or he can come here. Would love to see you, of course, so please keep us posted.

Sorry you left the python cage door open, but it's happened to the best of us.

My former barber used to tell bad jokes ad nauseum. One of his perennials was the following:

What are the four times in a man's life when he really worries?

1) The first time he can't do it twice.
2) The second time he can't do it once.
3) The first time he forgets to zip up.
4) The first time he forgets to zip down.

You're sorry? Heh! I was mortified!

According to your barber's joke, I guess that puts me somewhere around phase three. Ack! I'm not that old! Help!

Re: You're sorry? Heh! I was mortified!

Relax. The stages aren't associated with particular ages. Hopefully, you won't hit stage four at all! :-)

Ah...it's nice to know *someone* enjoys the holiday shopping thing. I went with my mom last night. Hideous!

"XYZ, My Brother."

I recently noticed one of my darlings had his fly down...and he wasn't wearing underwear. ;)

I like shopping okay...

It's really fun until it becomes wall-to-wall people. I hate being pressed for time and space. On the whole though, it's mostly doing things with someone. That's what makes it really fun.

Re: I like shopping okay...

Most of the time I can think of other things I'd rather be doing with people. :)

Buying a Unix book, and having your fly down...

interesting conjecture

Obviously, I need to look up how to redirect my pipe!

Re: interesting conjecture

Yeah les you know someone else is grepping for it :-x

Re: interesting conjecture

Hmmm, it's been awhile since I've been fingered and grepped. I'm not sure where the file goes any more.

Re: interesting conjecture


You took it too far there ;-p

and on a latter note, having eaten at most of the malls "dining" Establishments (I use that term EXTREMELY lightly) I would suggest getting in your car and riding across the street to Outback.

Outback is very good.

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