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Eugie · Foster's · Self-Indulgent · Musings


Kind Hearts, book vending machines, and car trouble, oh my!

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Had a lovely dinner with terracinque last night. Home baked veggie pot pie and beer bread, and a crisp white zinfandel (courtesy Glenn) to wash it down. And cupcakes a la Glenn for dessert. I was a bit perplexed at the beer bread. I had to leave it in the oven for an extra fifteen minutes and the middle was still a bit doughy. Weird. Perhaps I accidentally used too much beer? Or perhaps Killian's Red is more temperamental than Guinness? Still yummy, though. Also watched Kind Hearts and Coronets, which Glenn hadn't encountered before. We're big fans of Sir Alec Guinness. There's a certain sadness that he's best known for his role in the Star Wars movies rather than the wealth of excellent work he did prior to them.

In amusing news of the world, Paris has started stocking vending machines for books so you can assuage your literary fix 24/7. If you have an emergency need to acquire Alice in Wonderland at 3AM in Paris, and all the bookstores are closed, you can pop out to a vending machine! And they were clever enough to make a gentle delivery method in lieu of the *plummet clunk* that candy bars receive. How cool is that?

In less amusing, non-news-of-the-world, the battery on our second car is kaput. We tried to jump it using our first car, but either the battery is really dead, or we're incapable of using a set of jumper cables. Even though I'm not ruling out the latter, since I am the first to admit my ineptitude with anything involving vehicular innards, I'm betting on the former, since we could occasionally get enough of a charge for it to make a forlorn "rrr rrr" rather than the usual time-to-write-the-eulogy "click click click." So it seems we need to replace the battery. fosteronfilm and I talked it over, and we decided it would make the most sense to simply drop the second car from our insurance and registration, at least until we have need of a second vehicle again, instead of shelling out the bucks to tow it to a shop and get it fixed. It's quite sad. fosteronfilm is very fond of "his" car. It's a pretty, white Honda Prelude from when they made them sporty and sleek. It's also a little worrisome because if one of us gets into trouble while running errands, the other can't come riding to the others' aid. But I guess having an "emergency car" really wasn't sensible, financially speaking.

Also finally got a call back from my doctor. We agreed to back off my increased Prozac dose. Thank goodness. The queasy headaches were getting old. So I'm back down to 40mg/day. And hey, according to a recent Psychology Today article, depression may be a font of creative inspiration. Or something . . .

Today's the last 2005 Dragon*Con director's meeting. I keep thinking there's something I need to do or bring for it, but I can't remember what.

   

Writing Stuff

Received:
8-day "While we found this story to be worthy of a second look, we ultimately decided it's not quite what we're looking for" from Lenox Avenue with a "we do hope you'll try us again in the future" to soften the blow.
1-day "Although smooth and engaging" pass from ericmarin of Lone Star Stories with a "I welcome additional work from you" to let me know that although I was not a winner this time, I should try again.
Tags:
I'm feeling:
moody moody
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On August 20th, 2005 02:11 pm (UTC), lousy_timing commented:
Vending machines for books?
I love that!

I don't know about Killian's for bread making, but it makes a delicious chicken dish. I typed that, then realized you're vegetarian. Sorry.

One of the biggest reasons that I resisted taking anti-depressants (and still dislike taking them now) is that my spirals have yielded amazing ideas, and remembrances of dreams that I could turn into stories, as well. It isn't that I don't have access to creative thoughts with the meds, but there is a place that I cannot go and I mourn that loss at times.

Moving on from the morose- it sounds like you had a great time last night and made happy. That is good! :)

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On August 20th, 2005 02:16 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Re: Vending machines for books?
I wonder if there's any chance book vending machines could be made viable over here in the U.S.? I tend to doubt it, but it would be way cool.

Re: depression and creativity - It's a coin toss for me. Sometimes when I'm in a blue funk it totally releases my muse. Other times, it leaves me so lethargic and energy-less I can't bring myself to do anything, much less write. Still, I'm glad to be on a lower dose. The side-effects were getting really unpleasant.

Btw, I love your icon! Wistful kitty. Aww.
On August 20th, 2005 02:28 pm (UTC), lousy_timing replied:
Re: Vending machines for books?
Thank you! That's our kitty, Ra. He hangs on the door like that when we haven't paid attention to him circling the house, looking for someone to let him out.

I'd love to see vending machines like that here, but I suspect they'd end up vandalized or replaced with competing machines that offer a quicker fix; perhaps video game or dvd equivalents instead? That's the trend I've seen in the past, at least. Fast, brain candy fixes win out in the end, despite the progress reading has been making in the last decade as a pastime.
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On August 20th, 2005 02:46 pm (UTC), desayunoencama replied:
Re: Vending machines for books?
The vending machines are run by one particular company. So it would require a publishing house deciding to invest in this non-traditional method of distribution, buying and installing and maintaining the machines, etc. And it would lean toward bestsellers and other lowest-common-denominator type titles, obviously, since a) they'd try to attract the largest possible walk-by audiences and b) they'd be producing large enough quantities to get the price point to a place where they'd be impulse buys. The company that's doing it sounds to be sort of like Dover Books, which publishes mostly public-domain titles in very cheap editions.

Would it be cost-effective? I don't think the per-book profit margin is high enough to offset the upkeep (someone needs to restock, etc.).

Publishers are better off trying to get relevant books into non-book outlets, like Urban Outfitters or Home Depot.
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On August 20th, 2005 06:56 pm (UTC), dionycheaus replied:
Re: depression and creativity
I have never tried anti-depressents. But I have found that when I get into a particular funk, the kind where I start feeling really alienated and sensitive to Everything, dark chocolate and red wine sort of seems to chase it. And my dreams have colors in them again, and stuff. Found out that dark chocolate and red wine increase seratonin levels, and that women can be genetically sensitive to loss of seratonin as estrogen decreases at certain times of the month. So that's my depression-creativity connection, and I've liked the results.

When one of my friends was on antidepressents, he said he just kind of didn't have access to the kind of darker thoughts--does it work that same way with other emotions? I had no idea--but so much of what happens with psychiatric meds is medicalized and utterly impersonal...

and those vending machines kick butt, too. Maybe they can go in the L.A. school district, which is supposed to be on the verge of getting rid of all their soda...
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On August 20th, 2005 02:48 pm (UTC), nmsunbear commented:
We used to have an old-style Honda Prelude. It was dark blue. Those are good-looking cars. Ours got stolen, clearly to provide parts for someone else's, because it was missing specific bits: one front side panel but not the other, some duct work, the stick-shift knob -- just enough to total it. Sigh.

But on the other hand, we got the RAV-4 to replace it, and it's the best car I've ever had, so I should probably stop whining.

(On a totally different note, mmm beer bread. It's been way too long since I've made beer bread. Weird that the type of beer should make a difference in the cooking time!)
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On August 20th, 2005 03:26 pm (UTC), m0nkeygrl commented:
Can you get the lights to turn on while you're trying to boost the car? If you can, it's a very dead battery. If not, it's probably the alternator. Hopefully, it's just the battery.

And I would love to see vending machines for books. :)
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On August 20th, 2005 05:20 pm (UTC), elmwood commented:
Sorry about the car! Honda Preludes are way cool.

An Alec Guinness fan, oh my! I always like him as a military man, so am very fond of Tunes of Glory and Bridge Over the River Kwai. Have you seen those? My dearly beloved, who is an actor, swears by Guinness' technique for getting in character - which is to get the person's walk first, then everything else will follow.
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On August 20th, 2005 10:06 pm (UTC), keesa_renee commented:
I feel for you, Eugie. Car problems are no fun. But it's very sensible not to pay the insurance on a car that won't run!
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On August 21st, 2005 01:36 am (UTC), tomaqmar commented:
Car talk
It sounds like it could be the alternator, I'm afraid. Though it's risky to diagnose car problems from a distance, especially when I just wish I were a gearhead. (Why are so many sf people technically inept? You'd think we'd be the last ones!)
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On August 21st, 2005 04:14 am (UTC), puskunk commented:
Tow? for a battery? 50 bucks would have you back on the road again. you got a charger or a multimeter? Hell if it's a topmount, I've got an extra battery sitting on my porch.
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On August 21st, 2005 04:29 am (UTC), eugie replied:
Wah! I didn't understand many of the words in your post. And they were all the important ones! What's a "charger" a "multimeter" and a "topmount"?

And, err, why do you have an extra battery on your porch? Or is that one of those "don't ask don't tell" things?
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On August 21st, 2005 04:33 am (UTC), puskunk replied:
Charger: device that supplies an electrical charge slowly to a chemical battery
Multimeter: device that measures many different kinds of electrical properties, i.e. resistance,voltage,current. We'd be concerned with DC voltage here and car off, your battery should be around 12 volts or more (they say a car is a "12 volt system". It's not, it's closer to 13.4)
Topmount: where the battery studs are on top rather than those damn sidemount ones where the terminals are on the side.

Oh, and I have no idea where the battery came from, I have cars in and out of here over the course of a year. It should be in the garage, but I never got around to it.
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On August 21st, 2005 02:00 pm (UTC), meatbunny commented:
I'm quite enchanted w/ the idea of book vending machines... I'm thinking, though, that the only way that such a thing would be viable in this country is for them to stock chiefly Cliff Notes. :P

either the battery is really dead, or we're incapable of using a set of jumper cables.

I'm no expert, but I believe that "incapability of using jumper cables" is usually demonstrated by some sort of explosion. ;}

Does the battery from your other car fit in the 2nd car? If so, you could at least test to see if it's just the battery that's the problem... batteries are relatively cheap.

I've currently got a '79 El Camino (with which I'm pathetically in love) rotting in my backyard because it doesn't *quite* run, & I can't afford the insurance & gas for it even if it *did* run, yet I can't bring myself to sell it... so I've got a huge soft spot for secondary vehicles. ;}

I have only just begun to try to digest the "Rhapsody in Blue" article. I suspect that I'll be posting an entry about that in my other journal before too long...
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