This Domicile Is Now Presentable

Did a crapload of laundry today and a smattering of dishes, which was not my intention, though it must be stated: Be careful what you wish for. Because crawling around back there was the notion that it wouldn’t be so bad to wash another load by hand, insert earbuds and get down to it. Hands in hot water, mechanized thoughtlessly for a good duration, strategizing at the end to stack in a way that won’t have the plastic Ikea bowls stewing towards mildew if no one puts them away for a few days. It’s a forgivably loud activity, so belt out a lyric, step to it. Clatter and splash. 

Words to this effect got their due when I pulled out the bottom tray of the apparently repaired dishwasher and saw the cloudy lake that had been waiting since yesterday–back when the guy had replaced the motor and declared it a done deal. Ha ha, it ain’t never that easy. Just two visits from the appliance people? You know it’s just the beginning, this saga that started in the middle of March.

So I got my wish, I washed some dishes.


Kick the Kindle?

So the native docs app sucks, for reasons I will get into soon enough. The views are great. Web layout, for instance, automatically adjusts the width of the text when you enlarge or shrink the screen. Only a fraction of apps in the universe can pull that off. But a few unforgiveables have ensued. 

Sadly I couldn’t log onto Verizon Wireless tonight and see the deals on the Samsung tablets they’d emailed me about, didn’t feel like searching my inbox for deleted emails…

So here I am back at WordPress, the only reliable writing thingy on a Fire. I’ve often thought to myself, the limits that a more modest tablet will impose are productive. You work with that one app that works, you stick with it, you eventually ask no questions, you don’t bother with tedious comparisons. So even though it saves locally, I reject the docs app, which at this point I’m not even sure is native. Am I confusing the issue?

Three bluetooth keyboards have had problems staying connected to the Fire. My Windows laptop, though, has the same issue with bluetooth speakers and headphones. So Christ, do I want to risk it with an Android tablet, or invest in an iPad? I need an iPad. But iPads don’t let you buy stuff directly in the Kindle app.

Apple, you are so threatened by the Amazon bookstore that you force us to make this kind of decision?

The pleasure of shopping within the Kindle app is, for me, without parallel. I find the deals. The bargain bookstore a few miles from here just closed; the owner retired, sold it off. Most of the authors I’ve fallen in love with over the past few years have been from Kindle deals (that I learned about via Bookbub, the only company whose emails I truly look forward to): Nell Zink, Ottessa Moshfegh, Mary Karr (although I’d dabbled with her Lit before, I hadn’t yet read The Liar’s Club, a game changer for reasons completely unrelated to this post).

The central question is WHERE DO I WRITE?

This tablet, whose tiny pricetag on a particularly broke-ass Christmas I cannot forget, lets me write in WordPress. That’s it–barring Evernote, which works fine except it doesn’t enable the Ctrl shortcuts (for skipping across and deleting entire words), an indispensible feature of any writing app, let it be known. I cannot write without Ctrl.

And that’s Part One of why the native docs app turns out to be solid shite. Part Two: Did it really just kick me off my keyboard when I switched between “web layout” and “page layout”? 

Why this conspiracy against hassle-free blogging? From all conceivable angles, my own included?

That’s the keyword here–blogging. I am scarcely a writer, though I teach writing for a living. Nay–I am, at heart, a blogger. I write to connect with people without waiting for whether my missives have been accepted; just publish. Spit off that tall bridge, see whom it hits.

Just don’t forget the tags.

Wait, possible interference. Bluetooth was enabled on my iPhone this whole time?

Pro Tips

Bad habit: Turning off the screen when I get up to pee. This interrupts the Bluetooth (keyboard) connection, often. 

(Scrap that hangup with wasting battery power. Like a two-minute interval is going to destroy everything you’ve worked for.)

Don’t put your coffee on your portable work table. Never will be the day when everything you need is in arm’s length, but everyday will you spill your coffee.

Start waking up earlier than you’d dare. They all want your attention; beat them to it.


Those little things, not one of them recurring, but I am reminded of them–does that mean they recur? Am I putting them back into circulation…do they need autonomy to qualify as recurring…

I need to feel this soft little nostalgic pain over a place I’ve never been. Or a cold antipathy for a place that’s stuck in its request at the last minute.


Being = Grading

It’s time to rant incoherently online, to put the Presentable Prof. (defender of respectable and logical academic discourse) persona to sleep, claiming verbal diarrhea posted in public without paragraph breaks. Comma comma comma, citation citation citation. I’ve earned it. So to interrupt the latest and possibly-most-ridiculous Trump shitstorm (Comey-firing) as well as my own ill-fated, all-week & late-night Final Grades marathon, I’d like thank the following, without which I would’ve spent these days hollering unprofessional unpleasantries at my laptop: coffee-M.I.A.-coffee-Slayer-coffee-M.I.A., as well as my drumset sitting nearby in my study for whenever I caught a plagiarist. And now that there’s no hope in hell I’ll meet my deadline: Lana Del Rey and merlot. (I am more specific on the wine than the coffee. Why?) See I’m at the point where, in a comment to a Texas student’s essay on Open Carry, I find myself searching Mary Karr’s badass memoir The Liar’s Club for that line about how every Texan knows how to…well, here it is: “In Texas any four-year-old knew you didn’t point a firearm at a live creature unless you wanted it dead. Even a busted, empty gun got handled like a snake.” (And then the author’s mother spends the next epoch pointing an unnecessarily swanky pistol at her drunken husband while deflating him with a merciless rhapsody on how fucking worthless he is.) So for the moment I’m all for Open Carry in the state that produces such trenchant nonfiction lit. 

They Are the Ones Who Knock

I had taken leave of my office to fetch the Exacto Knife to cut a sharp little cord off my latest candidate for Acceptable Office Chair when the doorbell rang. The No Solicitors sign hasn’t been working lately. Yesterday it was two guys in dress shirts, belts & slacks, carrying tablets. We let them walk away. But today at 2:30, it was a dark-haired young woman in a tank top and jeans carrying a cigarette whose smoke was brought right into the living room by our “kid fan,” the magical conductor in the hallway ceiling that draws such currents from the windows and doors that we once had our five-year-old convinced it would lift her up and outta the house if she didn’t behave. So this lady, what, had she lost her dog, her child?

No, she wanted to know if we were in the market for landscaping or any other lawn services.

I gave her the standard line: We rent this house we don’t own it, we don’t cover that end of things. Which was not a very forthright thing to say to a stranger who wore no landscaping garb and presented no landscaping brochure but did bring smoke into our home. She said OK and turned back down the sidewalk; I shut the door.

Wife and I compared notes on her sketchy demeanor and likely objective. Personally, I found her to be more dazed and maybe sad than sketchy, as if not sure herself just how she came to be knocking on doors with this particular offer on a sunny afternoon. Our guess was that she was scraping around for drug money, scoping out houses to burglarize, or both.

So with a thoughtful air, Wife picked up her keys and said she’d be right back.

Five minutes later she returned with a report that the woman’s partner was a tall dude with reddish hair who sat in a blue Toyota truck looking sketchily this way and that while his lady friend knocked on doors. They’d been followed down the road and had their license number recorded; now they were getting themselves reported to the non-emergency police.

The dogs, sound asleep, are still on call; no walk for them tonight!


Just flirting with Hindi since two nights ago–with the Mango app, free via the public library. Picked up volume A of The Longman Anthology of World Literature, containing the Ramayana and bits of the Mahabharata, that we read in the Non-Western Lit course I sort of taught a few years ago. What was the name of the documentary series we watched to put it all in context? Hosted by a thin British guy exploring the realms where dance told the birth of the world and statues were doused with colors; later, in China, climbing a sacred mountain behind a thinner Chinese guy with a cig in his mouth…

Ah, The Story of India. YouTube it.