14th July 10
I somehow missed Annotations’ touching account of the last time I ran into him that he posted earlier this week — in case you did, too, click through for the whole thing. It has all my favorite elements for a good narrative: non-traditional transit methods, winter, a party, feelings, geographic name-checks, bro-tastic camaraderie, magazines and nostalgia.
The article is entitled “The Silver Lining,” and real the silver lining is that I can give this thing back to Andy now. Because I am the guy who returns your torn magazines.
You sure are, Mike. I thank you, and I can’t wait to see what I missed.
Also, if memory serves, the party wasn’t very good. It was a lot of college kids, and not the good kind, either.
9th February 10
It’s bleak. The burn is very clean, but the lamps flicker in odd ways that catch the waves in the glass of the windows. It reminds you that the windows are very old and that the window installer responsible for their installation has almost certainly been dead for a very long time. I am not sure why I thought an all-oil lamp light diet would be an effective method for combating seasonal affective disorder.
I am using LAMPLIGHT FARMS™ brand lamp oil and cotton wicks. LAMPLIGHT FARMS sounds like the loneliest place in the world. What do you think life would be like if you worked on LAMPLIGHT FARMS? Very early bedtimes, I’d imagine.
And hard days in the field, harvesting wicks. Or whatever one does on a lamplight farm.
LAMPLIGHT FARMS is one of those brands named after a presumably fictitious location, like ORGANIC VALLEY or ICE MOUNTAIN, that doesn’t register as odd-sounding until you really stop to consider how absurdly made-up it sounds. Still, LAMPLIGHT FARMS sounds much more sinister than ICE MOUNTAIN. LAMPLIGHT FARMS sounds like slow descents into madness and jilted lovers and moonless nights. It sounds like dead Victorians to me.
27th January 10
I woke up this morning to read that our man in Chicago, Falling and Laughing, was suffering from some distinctly north-of-the-42nd-Parallel troubles:
I woke up this morning with such a dry, sore throat. So dry! …I wanted to talk to someone about it, but when I opened my mouth, all that emerged was a sepulchral croak.
I was very sympathetic, beause I too was having some similar problems with sepulchral croaks. Showers solved F&L’s problem for the time being; I am still feeling very dried-out. Are there better solutions?
S. 12th is, like many apartment buildings in the older mixed-use neighborhoods of northern cities, heated by metal radiators. I’ve long heard that placing a pie tin filled with water on top of the radiator works beautifully as a makeshift humidifer, but there are two problems with this approach: first, every radiator in the apartment has a wooden shelf of one kind or another constructed on top of it, and second, no one wants to walk into an apartment and see empty pie tins everywhere. “Where did the pies go? Did you eat all of them?” they might ask. “My apartment is dry,” I’d croak. That is a terrible way to begin a conversation when you’ve walked into my apartment. Didn’t we come up here to look at my etchings?
So I’m thinking of other solutions. Does a pie tin (or a metal container) under the radiator work? My understanding is that for the water to vaporize, the metal needs to be in contact with the radiator.
I have seen some nice ceramic and metal radiator humidifers, like the kind mentioned here. Look how attractive this is:
Also, this old article from the New York Times lists some possibilities, and is full of dead and dying links to online sellers of such items. Have you had luck with these?
I wonder how difficult it would be to personally fashion one out of metal, or commission one of our great local ceramic artists to fire a few up for me.
What are your experiences with radiator humidifiers? Or empty pie tins?
In honor of the 42nd parallel, incidentally, I would perhaps create humidifers illustrated with hand-drawn vignettes from John Dos Passos’ novel of the same name. Dos Passos is my favorite leftist-turned-reactionary crank. It happens sometimes.