Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Literary games (1)

No, not the Paul Auster kind. Let's start with the ever-popular "CHANGE ONE LETTER" game, in which the rule is to change one letter in an existing book title and give a brief description of the imagined result.

1. Wife of Pi

What is life like when you are married to one of nature's most famously irrational entities? Someone whose life and qualities seem to be fair game for mathematicians the world over? What if your spouse's digits are a topic of gossip worldwide - to the extent that geeks in internet chatrooms and idiots savants on PBS boast about their familiarity with those same digits? How does it feel to have your spouse's philandering relationship with that Eulerian trollop e immortalized for ever on the lavatory stall walls in engineering buildings and in math texts from Bratislava to Brazzaville, from Abkhazia to Zimbabwe? Even though some have said the relationship is purely an imaginary one.

"Wife of Pi" explores the story of an unsung heroine of mathematics, as Cherry Pi reveals what life is like as the spouse of one of nature's bad boiz. She clearly loves her man: "Sure he can be irrational, but life with him is just transcendental", she swoons, "I couldn't imagine it any other way".

2. A Thousand Splendid Subs

Jared's Story.

3. Goldilocks and the Three Beards

Once again, Goldi wondered just why it was that Fate had caused her to be trapped in an elevator with Kelly Preston, Nicole Kidman, and Katie Holmes.

4. A la recherche du temps Perdue

A man. A madeline. A chicken. A dream. It takes a tough man to write an autobiography as tender as this.

5. Sexbiscuit

The Anna Nicole Smith story.

6. The Year of Jiving Dangerously

Indonesian authorities crack down on dirty dancing.

7. Caesar's Garlic Wars

Internecine strife threatens to bring down a pizza-making empire.

8. Fast Wood Nation

Listening to Viagra.

9. Mulder on the Orient Express

Obviously, Poirot's "explanation" of the murder was just part of a government coverup.

10. CEO Wulf

A business fable about the monster in the corner office.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Back in the U.S.A.

After a fairly horrific day of travel* yesterday, reporting in safe and sound from San Francisco. The kitties are happy and healthy (thanks, Brad!) and have been purring madly for the past 24 hours. Which, I think, means that they have forgiven me for my temporary absence.

And I am delighted to report that, despite the horrifically early hour (6am), I forced myself to overcome my natural reticence and engaged the taxi driver in conversation on the way to the airport. For the entire half-hour trip we chatted away, and not once was I stuck for words. The cab driver was so impressed that he kept asking me if I wasn't a Spanish teacher. So I felt pretty good about that aspect of the trip.

I felt pretty good about every aspect of the trip, when you get right down to it, except for the recurring stomach problems, which - while not serious - were fairly frequent, and somewhat uncomfortable. Don't know what I might have done differently in retrospect, some of the more extreme advice I received (brush your teeth with bottled water; don't take ice with your soft drinks; don't eat salad, etc.) seems frankly impractical.

But, in the end, this was just a minor inconvenience. I loved Guanajuato and - in particular - pretty much everyone I met on the trip was totally charming. (The occasional exceptions, I regret to report, could be classified securely in the 'ugly American' category, but they were fortunately few and far between.)

Back on the home front, a quick trip to Nordstrom's this afternoon took care of today's super-important errand. Yes, that's right - the elegant, charcoal-grey Italian suit, she is purchased, and will be ready for pick-up on Wednesday afternoon. Let nobody accuse this blogger of showing up like a slob for his only goddaughter's wedding. Eventual photographic documentation of this sartorial splurge seems inevitable, so be patient.

* you don't want to know, trust me.