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August 24 1998, Monday


t around noon I biked down to the fratty South University business district of Ann Arbor and got myself a couple cheese slices at Backroom Pizza (which I often jokingly refer to as "Backrub Pizza"). Then I bought a fairly inexpensive cup of coffee at Rendez Vous and headed on to the University of Michigan's Angell Hall. That place is a great place to get real work done. Today they weren't even running the air conditioning too much, what a surprise!

On the way back home at around 7pm, I hit a bank machine for money, the first time in my life I had ever done such a thing. I almost left my card behind, that's how stupid I am about modern conveniences that almost everybody uses every day.

On the way back to Kim's apartment, I stopped at the party store across the street to maybe buy a bottle of vodka. It was dingy, full of strange merchandise, and operated by a seemingly clueless oriental dude, but who knows? Maybe the guy has exceptional business savvy. Still, it looked like the set for a Spike Lee film and I kept thinking that it probably gets held up on a regular basis. There was no hard liquor, so I contented myself with 1.5 litres of Livingston Cellars Burgundy. It only cost a little over seven dollars.


ack at Kim's place, she was cooking us a meal of turkey burgers. I poured the vino and Kim was definitely not impressed. She said it was probably about one notch above Mad Dog. And according to her, the last time she drank Mad Dog (in high school), she threw up. Is it any wonder that I keep having the feeling I'm dating the protagonist of The Princess and the Pea?

The burgers Kim cooked were excellent, even if I am forced to admit that the vino was not. We talked a little about her day. She told me of the surreal experience of Mother answering the door of her smoke-damaged house in a gas mask. It seems the cleaning solvents used to reverse the smoke damage are the sorts of things best left uninhaled. Kim complained all night about what she'd inhaled while there.

In other news, Sophie is back from the Pet Ritz. She's a little on the quiet side since coming home, and she looks different because she was groomed during her stay. Unfortunately, now she's suffering problem skin on her face and throat, like some hormonally over-ripe adolescent. The Pet Ritz had tried to charge Kim $96 for Sophie's stay, until she informed them that Sophie was part of Mother's insurance-funded party. I'm continually amazed at the comprehensiveness of this fire insurance windfall.


im and I went out in the evening to pick up a videotape of Forrest Gump and a half gallon of vodka. I got the absolutely cheapest vodka I could find, Kamchatka. Don't let the name fool you, this stuff is bottled in Frankfort, Kentucky.

Let's see, Forrest Gump: Kim got this movie because I'd appreciated the historical-fiction qualities underlying Boogie Nights. Forrest Gump is a celebration of dumb luck. Here's a guy who stumbles into good fortune no matter what ill-informed action he takes, ending up a zillionaire living in a mansion with his childhood sweetheart (though he barely knows what to do with a girl). It's a cute movie, but it left me yearning for drama a little more substantial. In some ways it seemed to be the movie equivalent of decaffeinated coffee or non-alcoholic beer: good on a swallow-by-swallow basis, but unsatisfying as a whole. The movie tried to make up for its dramatic shortcomings by creating genuine tragedy at the end (the sort that might have made me cry on a bad day), but Gump's suffering by this point all seemed justified on a cosmic level, like he was owed a little bad luck after all his dumb luck. I don't feel challenged by feel-good movies, and this was basically a feel-good movie, albeit a gorgeous and appealingly cute one.

But the way Bubba pronounces "shrimp" is priceless. Shrehlmp.

one year ago
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