Thursday, July 10, 2008

Microsoft? Really the Devil? Or Just His Spawn?

I couldn't get online last night and, to make a two and a half hour story short, I found out from Verizon (our DSL provider) that Microsoft had sent out a recent automatic security update that was "interfering with some customers' ability to get online." There were calls to Microsoft, there was disabling Zone Alarm, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, but they did tell me, finally, how to uninstall the security update. I'm beginning to agree with nephew Greg about how Microsoft really is the devil...

Meanwhile, Joel is about to make the next big change in his life: he's finishing up a year as a software engineer, coming to see us, visiting Israel, starting graduate school. See below for where. The view is of San Francisco from their window in the apartment they'll be leaving soon.

June 30, 2008

Well, I just finished a decent draft of a short story called “The Roy Critchfield Scandals.” As usual, the hardest but most necessary part, especially in a short story, is to cut. HOWEVER! I have now officially found a great use for journals and blogs! I'm going to put my best outtake here!I took out one of my favorite passages in the story for slowing down the pace-- it'sll all philosophy and travel memories. So here’s the passage, which is in the voice of a woman named Ann Harding, who mentions both her late beloved husband John and her present boyfriend, Abe, who takes her to Europe:

One of the things John Harding taught me is that growing up means learning to live with many truths and many falsehoods in the same person, including yourself. So I try not to complain about some of the nonsense people believe at the First Baptist of Kingfield because there’s so much I value there: the words of the King James translation of the Bible, a fine peroration at the end of a solidly argued sermon. Old fashioned hymns that put you in the spirit whether you take it literally or not. I love the whole thing, although to be perfectly candid I consider it as much of an artifact as great painting or a bridge or the Parthenon in Greece which I hope to visit someday.

Or the Pantheon in Rome, which I have visited. Abe and I stayed in a hotel on our last trip overlooking that domed church that was originally a temple to the Roman gods, and is still called “All Gods” even though it’s a Catholic church! This amuses me no end, how people can keep the sense of the sacred but change what the thing is sacred to.

Mostly, though, that Pantheon was simply the most beautiful human-made building I’d seen up to that point in my life. The window in our hotel bathroom opened directly overlooking the dome, and in the evening, I pressed my face out at its huge dark curvature, nothing between it and my face but air. Voices and car horns came up from the piazza and someone’s apartment was nestled in next to the dome on the other side, and pigeons flapped rose up into the immensely dark blue sky.

Abe said "Let’s go eat, Annie," and I said, "Not yet. "

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