An Almost Perfect Day

We’ve been having perfect weather here—dry and sunny in the 70’s—so Sarah and I took advantage of it by riding over the river to Southside on our bikes.  We locked them near the bridge, then hiked along the river and up through Forest Hill Park to a new Mexican restaurant on Forest Hill, then to a used book store close by.  Then we hiked back to our bikes.  The river was running high, and the views were spectacular with all the leaves off the trees.  It was perfect until we returned to our bikes to find that someone had snapped off the valve stems on our front tires.  We were 3 miles from home, we’d already walked 4.  We hoofed it home, returned with the car, got new tubes for the bikes.  It’s sad someone would do something like that just for the sheer assholery of it, but we didn’t let it spoil our good time.  After dinner we went to see “Deja Vu” at the Byrd, and it was a good Byrd movie ($1.99 a ticket in a gorgeous vintage movie palace is tough to complain about).  The plot is loaded with holes, but it’s a good ride, and we both like Denzel Washington in just about anything.

Kafka on the Shore

I finished reading Haruki Murakami‘s beautiful novel Kafka on the Shore a couple of days ago and still haven’t recovered from the experience. It was the first Murakami I’ve read—I don’t know how he escaped my notice before—but I intend to read more. I don’t think I’ve ever so willingly or completely surrended my disbelief to a novel before. I was quite thoroughly seduced—but not abandoned— for the book has stayed with me. One of the qualities I enjoy and admire is his refusal to let the fiction collapse into Meaning, the English Class obsession. He says in an interview “When you read a good story, you just keep reading. When I write a good story, I just keep writing.” I could feel that joyous sense as I read—that we were both having a good time. I read it because it was awarded the World Fantasy Award for 2005—which it richly deserves.

The Real Florida

We’re back from south Florida where we had a wonderful time with hosts Antigone Barton and Ken Matthews and their two cats Nat and Blondine, seen here gazing into another dimension:

We got out and saw the local architecture:

Went to the beach:

Blondine was of two minds about our visit:

We also saw more Hummers than I ever hope to see again. We found solace luxuriating in Deux Flamants, Antigone and Ken’s former home, a vintage land yacht:

All in all, a splendid way to see in the New Year.