July 31st, 2006


Soda fountains and what I've been reading

Someone on my friendslist posted something about a soda fountain in a locked post, and it reminded me of when we used to go down to the soda fountain. It was on Dodge St. in Omaha, somewhere between 52nd and 48th (can't swear to the exact cross-street), and it was in the back of a drugstore just like they're supposed to be. And it was next door to a used bookstore -- to one of the used bookstores where they knew us so well that when I came in after the tornado, the owner said, "Thank goodness! I wondered if you'd been up at college when that hit!" (The tornado was six hours from Omaha, up here in Minnesota, so it's not like it was big news.)

Anyway, the soda fountain: we would go buy our books and then sit down on the red vinyl stools at the soda fountain counter and look at what books the other people bought. We would order chocolate malts, and there was always some leftover in the metal thing, and they also had these little pointy paper cups that had their own metal stands, and we would drink water and our malts. It is hot, and I have birthday book money, and so I wish I could do that today. But I suppose scottjames and greykev have to work, and anyway the three of us live in different cities now, and it's a bit of a commute to the Cris-Rexall soda fountain counter.

This was all in the mid-'90s, by the way, so soda fountains did not entirely disappear in the spring of 1964, never to return.

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And now I'm reading Joanna Kavenna's The Ice Museum, which is about all the different places that have been called Thule or Ultima Thule. I will note that I hardly ever get the urge to read about warm places for the sake of reading about warm places, even when it never gets above zero for the whole week in January. But this just looked cool and refreshing. The observant might draw conclusions from this.
taking a break

Out and About (but not in a boat)

1. The bank sign said it was 108 F. I did not say, "You are mad! Surely you are joking! It could not possibly be 108 F!" I believed every last degree of it. (That's 42 C for those of you who think in that system.) If markgritter is not well enough, I will walk the dog again tonight, because the dog needs walking every day, rain, shine, snow, sleet, and *gulp* 108 F. (Probably it will have cooled to 103 F after supper, though.) And I will do it in my bikini top like I did yesterday, because that is what God made bikini tops for, and I don't care if I shock another old lady in the car who looked like markgritter's paternal grandmother, and I don't care if I startle another set of black kids in the park who, day-umm, didn't know they made people that white, and I don't care if more people hang out their car windows to issue their commentary about me and my bikini top. (But not, I am sad to note, my hat. Which is very fetching. I assure you.) Because walking down the sidewalk between Hallmark and B&N was entirely too hot for a shirt, say nothing of an entire dog-length walk.

2. I tried the "double chocolate chip frappuccino" at B&N because I was there to spend a birthday gift card, and someone had said B&N made a good iced chocolate, and I thought this might be what they meant. Um, no. It was not; or if it was, we have different definitions of what is good in iced chocolate. Because they had apparently called it "chocolate chip" because they had noticed that it was extremely gritty, so they decided to make a virtue of a necessity. To attempt a virtue of a necessity, at least. I had four sips of it. Then I threw it away, because drinking any more of it would have been more of a waste of my mouth than throwing it away was a waste of drink. (The waste of money was irrelevant: the money had already been wasted, and nothing I could do would call it back.)

3. Here is how the gift card spending process went:
Rational Brain: We could wait awhile to get the other Yolen/Stemple book.
Little Voice: The flap says it has butterheads in.
RB: It's the same price as two mass-market paperbacks.
LV: Butterheads.
RB: And it's not even as long as an average one, so that's less than half the reading.
LV: Butterheads!
RB: And we just read one of theirs recently, and variety is good.

This is the same little voice that prompted me to write and sell the short story "Butterhead" to begin with. It's a scary little voice. So I am now the proud owner of Troll Bridge, and the little voice will maybe shut up for another couple of years, and I am happy despite the heat and the utter failure of the chocolate-chip frappywhatsit, and I will now delete everything that used to be Lucy's first letter to Edward, because I finally figured out the problem: it was Laura's first letter to Edward instead. But she's not Laura any more, she's Lucy, and the letter has to be completely different despite containing all the same information.

Do not change your characters' names, is what I'm telling you. It will come back to bite your butt. (Of course, having her still be Laura would be far, far worse.)

But at least I know what to do, and that makes me happy.