February 22nd, 2007


Keeping me pure

With the tournament looming, I used an Amazon credit card bonus to order 4 puzzle books. One of them was Nerve's Naughty Crosswords, by "Jorge Stafford" who is really a legitimate constructor (the others were Matt Gaffney's TV Crosswords, Mel Rosen's Casual Crosswords 4, and Uncle John puzzles 4).

The Nerve book was beautifully packaged with a clear plastic cover, rubber bandish thing to hold down the pages (unless there's some kinky use I don't know about), and bright, colorful pages. But wait: a closer look at the orange-, blue- and purple-on-white pages reveals the orange is so light as to be unreadable, and the blue and purple aren't much better. The font is very thin.

After staring at a few pages, I realized solving would be a huge, eye-straining effort, and speed-solving would be impossible. As much as I'm curious to see the puzzles (are they just gross, or wickedly funny like our old clue-bash sessions for people's racy puzzles where we'd end up using a lot of sailor and golf analogies?), I didn't see the point of keeping a book of puzzles I couldn't solve.

So back to Amazon they'll go. Since I don't have a printer, I couldn't print out a postpaid label so I'm not sure if I'm stuck with the return shipping cost. I sent notes to Amazon, the publisher, and "Jorge" complaining about the design, and the constructor noted he also has "sex variety puzzles" (!) coming soon and will advise the production people.

Or maybe you have to be young to solve in pastel.

Time out

I've stopped noting every time I do laundry, go grocery shopping, or get recognized since that's more of the same old, same old.

So a minute ago, going down in the elevator to do laundry, a woman recognized me. "I saw you at the Tribeca Film Festival last year!" "In 'Wordplay'?" I replied. "No, that father... the one about the priest." "Oh, that was sooooo good." I didn't bother mentioning my connection to "Wordplay," and wondered how anyone could remember me from being in the audience at the 9/11 priest movie.

And in front of the grocery store yesterday, a guy asked, "Aren't you the crossword champion?" and said he just saw the DVD. But I'm not talking about this stuff anymore.

The little cap over the battery of my old black West Bend timer disappeared, and retracing the steps from the desk in the bedroom to the dining room table (my work areas) failed to find it. Since leaving the battery exposed makes the display unstable and I need the timer for Stamford, I broke down and ordered another one. West Bend no longer makes the timer I bought about 20 years ago, and the new one isn't quite what I want, as I don't like the display as much and it includes hours and I just need minutes and seconds.

This seemed almost the same as the old one, other than the color so I ordered it. But when it arrived it turned out to be the newer model. I ended up keeping it, since I'm not sure if any vendor has the old one in the picture, and it does count forward and backward and shows minutes and seconds. Having used it, I now find it makes a loud, annoying beep when you start and finish timing. So if I bring it to Stamford, it'll beep when turning on when Will says "Go!" but I'll just let it keep running when I'm done.

Meanwhile, I noticed a small round black object on the computer desk - the battery cover! So I can use the old timer after all. I think I'd better replace the battery, since it's getting erratic. And in case it's actually dying, maybe I'll bring both timers anyway.

On the way home the other day, I got 2 white slices from the pizza place that raised their prices recently, and the guy rang up $12. "You're kidding!" He then claimed he never said it was $12 and went to $6, which is more plausible and I paid that. The menu board conveniently lists no prices.

I read:

"I Am Charlotte Simmons" by Tom Wolfe - The kids from "Prep" graduate and go to college. The tone seemed off, since an older man was writing in the voice of a teenager. I identified with Charlotte's dismay at the debauchery surrounding her, but wondered how this supposed top college could have no support services. Pretty good book.

"Call Her Miss Ross" by Randy Taraborrelli - Ooh, Diana's such a diva. I need to see "Dreamgirls."

"Pretty Women" by Kate Coscarelli - Air Force wives in Tripoli after WWII sacrifice their own ambitions to their husbands' careers. Later they reunite to investigate if a suicide was really a murder. Eh.