Thursday, September 2, 2021

busy September days

1. It's the first day of Oxonmoot, the Tolkien Society conference, and I'm attending online again, though all I was able to get to today was part of an interview with Carl Hostetter, Events having kept me away from the rest. That he wants to just study and enjoy Tolkien's languages without forcing them into an artificial standard grammar reminds me of the way I just want to read Tolkien's stories without wanting to have them made into movies. It's the number of people who feel otherwise in both cases that puzzles us.

1a. And what should arrive in the post today but a copy, fresh from the publisher on the very day of its official publication, of the book which was the occasion for Carl being feted, The Nature of Middle-earth, a collection of Tolkien's late world-creating documents. To say there's much to digest from this blizzard is to be modest. Guess where Tolkien probably got the concept of numbered Ages from.

2. It's also the first day of the Banff International String Quartet Festival, and thanks to the magic of online connections I can attend this as well as Oxonmoot. (An early evening concert at Banff is the middle of the night in England, so there's no time conflict either.) Today the Callisto Quartet, which I remember fondly from the last Banff Quartet Competition I attended in person, plus a friend gave a luminous performance of the Schubert String Quintet.

3. It's now six months until the month I'm eligible for Medicare, so that must be why I'm getting phone calls from people who say they're with the Medicare Health Center. And what, you may ask, is the Medicare Health Center? I did ask, but didn't get an answer; instead the callers stuck to the script, which involved asking personal questions like, are you on Medicaid? I got annoyed, they got huffy, I hung up. Later someone else called from the same outfit, and this time on not getting an answer I skipped the annoyed and huffy parts and went straight to the hanging up.

4. My credit card fraud department called and wanted to know if the Patreon donation I've paid on the first of every month for over a year is legit.

5. The Yelp reviews are right, and there are excellent Sonoran tamales to be had from a sidewalk cart that only appears in the mornings at a spot not far away from the pet supply store I had to visit to acquire Tybalt's hard-to-find cat food.

6. Also paid a visit in the area I hadn't been expecting. I'm not thrilled about shopping with Walmart, but their vast online grocery selections contain many items that less objectionable stores either have stopped carrying or never carried. I'd buy them elsewhere if elsewhere offered them, but they don't. For instance Walmart has the cream of onion soup I was looking for a couple weeks ago. But when I placed the order, one of the items turned out to be pickup only, though it hadn't said that on the selection page. Which meant I had to go to the nearest Walmart superstore, 15 miles away and fortunately near my other errands. If it were further I'd have canceled the order.

6a. So I arrived and it's set up like the grocery store. You pull into a designated numbered space and call a phone number. But nobody answered. The eventual intercept said, call the store directly. So I called the store directly, and chose the "pickup" option. Nobody answered. The eventual intercept transferred me to customer service. Nobody answered. So I left the car and hunted down one of the delivery clerks, who was good: she looked me up on her device and fetched my items right away.

6b. But so bedoggled felt I that, when I left the car, I absently left my keys in the ignition. Fortunately I also forgot to lock the door, a rare example of two wrongs making a right. Further fortunately I realized right away that I'd left my keys, because if I hadn't it would have been a third wrong worse than the other two put together.

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