Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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Self-Consciously Bohemian

This afternoon, cherylmorgan and I had a series of errands to run, starting at Fry's Electronics and working our way back home.

We got a cassette-tape-sized adapter to allow her MP3 player to play in the van's stereo system. This obliged me to buy a cassette cleaner-demagnitizer because we discovered how much hiss was in the system. (I doubt the tape player in the van had ever been cleaned. It sounded much better after running the cleaner.) We did not find an external-amplifier device to pump up the signal coming out of the MP3 player, although we know such things exist because Cheryl has seen them.

Because I'm working from home more often and much of the time I'm in conference calls or working with people on the phone while I need to have my hands free to use the computer, I bought a headset for the home phone. There were not many such headsets available; most of the accessories were for cordless and mobile phones, not old-fashioned ordinary plug-into-the-wall telephones.

We also wanted a medium-duty shredder. Fry's had only light-duty and heavy-duty machines, with blank space on the shelves where the medium-duty machine was, so we went to Staples in Newark, where we found one that was just right. (The light-duty machines jam too easily; the heavy-duty ones are overkill.) We also were thinking of getting a small label printer for printing mailing labels one at a time, but they were out of stock of every model they carry because they're doing inventory and everything is in chaos until they finish the count.

After a bit of grocery shopping, we headed home for a late lunch.

As we were watching the Giants take revenge for the drubbing they took from the Braves last night, we got an expected call from Gigi Gridley, who was down from the Central Valley visiting Frank Wu. The four of us arranged to meet in Mountain View at Tower Records, after which we headed to Mountain View downtown Castro Street for dinner.

Frank in particular was especially hungry, so we spent less than the usual amount of time picking a restaurant, and went to dinner at Shiva's (Warning: link makes music.) We had an excellent meal that cost less than $30/person including appetizers and after tip (but not dessert; we were stuffed).

Needing to walk off some of that meal, we sauntered up Castro Street, but didn't get far before being swept into Global Beads, and once we escaped there, it was only two blocks more before we came upon Red Rock Coffee Company, where a jazz quintet was performing. We decided to stop in for coffee and ended up staying for 45 minutes or so listening to some competent and enjoyable jazz. One of the two leads was playing an instrument that looked a bit like a clarinet -- an instrument I once played -- and I asked him what it was. Turned out to be a soprano saxophone, and instrument of which I was unaware (and which doesn't really look like what most people probably think of when you say "saxophone").

It was while we were sitting there in a coffee house, enjoying a jazz quintet and drinking espressos, that I turned to the rest of our group and said, "I feel so self-consciously bohemian."

We could probably have stayed longer, but we needed to get moving. Alas, there were two bookshops between the coffee house and our vehicles, and we stopped in Books Inc. and then BookBuyers used books, where I bought five books. My tastes in SF are, I think, hopelessly out of date. I liked Asimov's in the George Scithers days, and most of these books are collections of stories from series I first read in Asimov's.

Finally disengaging from the distractions of downtown Mountain View, we made our goodbyes and headed home. All in all, it was a very pleasant evening out. Now that I'm not spending every waking moment of my life planning a Worldcon, a Westercon, or a bid for same, I can actually try and enjoy myself sometimes. In Global Beads, they had a collection of Mood Rings, and I tried one on. It told me that I was "calm," and that's fine by me.

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