2014 — 22 March: Saturday

I've not yet lived with my water softener quite long enough1 to recognise and react to its "SALT" warning and quietly-insistent beeps. Or not when I'm still running in pre-cuppa mode, at any rate. Besides, since I keep the reservoir reasonably topped up, I don't know why I get treated to its audio-visual warnings in any case. I end up cursing the designer who labelled the keys in far too small font for legibility when I'm running in that same mode, too.

At least I've learned to keep the joke of an operating manual perched on top of the case.

My triumph...

... at having parked in the pole position (for easy escape from a very early visit to the Waitrose carpark) was tarnished, slightly, by there being no Cadbury's Bourneville (dark) choccie, so I had to settle for the rather more upmarket Lindt vanilla white. I also picked up a temporary MyWaitrose2 store card and thus had a choice of free newspapers, choosing a shrink-wrapped Grauniad and "saving" £2-50 — I'm sure I remember it costing less than a quid last time I was a daily reader.

Not only did I remember to heft in the next sack of salt from the garage before putting away the car, but I immediately recognised the rousing Bernard Herrmann theme from "North by North West" from the single chord I heard on the radio as I was passing, as it were.

Two pieces...

... in the New Yorker aren't quite enough to convince me that computer-assisted literary criticism is (yet) even approaching the state of a science. Interesting, though. I've just ordered two of Moretti's books. (Links #1 and #2.)

Well, reading the Grauniad (with BBC Radio 4 chuntering on neglected in the background) has stolen an hour from me, and resulted in a DVD order for a PBS documentary ("English Surgeon") having read the review of Henry Marsh's new memoir. (Though that one — "Do No Harm" — will keep3 for a while.) Meanwhile, the process of finding and ordering "Surgeon", which was apparently shown on the Beeb in 2008, led me in turn to pre-order the new film "The Unknown Known" about Donald Rumsfeld by Errol Morris. (Christa and I were much taken by his 2003 portrait of Robert McNamara — "The Fog of War".)

Today's post...

... has brought me both the latest invoice from dear Mama's care-home, and (rather more enjoyable, I hope) a Dutch Blu-ray with English audio that I ordered from a Japanese company of an Australian film that arrived via Jamaica... in the wake of a warm recommendation from Mike:


The original title is "Adore". And Princess Buttercup is one of the players. What's not to like?

Having watched...

... and very much enjoyed the second chunk of "Hunger Games" I'm now tackling some, at least, of the hours of 'extras' on the Blu-ray.



1  Three-plus years. And what kind of idiot is smart enough to teach the machine to 'regenerate' at 03:00 but dumb enough to fire off its alarm at that point when the salt level is still at least 30%?
2  It occurred to me (some several years late) that since I do 99% of my foodie shopping there in any case, the incremental 'harm' in being tracked by their store card is pretty minimal.
3  The best surgical memoir I've read so far is Richard Selzer's entrancing collection of essays from 1977 and 1979 published in 1981 as "Mortal Lessons" and then a year later in paperback as "Confessions of a Knife: meditations on the art of surgery". Stunning stuff.