Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hailstorms and Hiroshima

Today a customer came into the store with a gift for us: a copy of a catalog of drawings and paintings made by survivors of the bombing of Hiroshima, Zuroku Genbaku No E: Hiroshima O Tsutaeru = A-Bomb Drawings by Survivors. We were certainly grateful for the book as a welcome addition to our atomic history section; it's beautifully done, with text in Japanese and English, and the images are sobering.

The woman, who said she had never been in the store or the Bradbury Science Museum, said that we need at least one book to present the other side of the story in the war with Japan. (If she had browsed only briefly, she would have learned that we do present "the other side," in addition to nonproliferation and peace studies. You can't have a bookstore owned by two left-leaning lesbians and not have representation from "the other side.")

As our conversation continued, it was obvious from the reek of cigarettes on the woman's breath and on her clothes from her raspy voice that she was a heavy smoker. She also had a dandy cough: "I'll tell you why ack-ack-awwrrrgggh! you had that ack-ack hailstorm! It's because of chemtrails. Ack-ack-ack-awwwwrrrggggg! Ack! They're poisoning our lungs with ack-ack-acka-acka-acka chemicals and messing with the environment. If you have chemtrails acka-acka-awwrrrrrgggg! you're going to have violent ack-ack-ack-ack hailstorms. Ack-ack-ack-awwrrrrrrrggggggh!"

My own chemtrails, however, are perfectly ack-ack-awwwrrrrrgggh! harmless.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sophie's injuries

This morning I had my appointment to take Sophie to our insurance adjusters, who are set up in the high school parking lot to assess her injuries after the hailstorm. They wrote me a check to fix the
  • hood,
  • front fenders,
  • doors,
  • trim,
  • trunk lid,
  • roof,
  • headlights,
  • windshield,
  • rear window,
  • bumpers, and
  • driver's side mirror.
In other words, Sophie is getting a whole new body. Michele took her VW wagon in yesterday, and she has to wait a few days to find out whether State Farm is going to total it.

Friday morning the insurance guy is coming to check the house. I'm betting we need a new roof.

A Kevlar® hail umbrella for the house and cars would have saved us a lot of trouble.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Childhood fears

Chuckbert's post reminded me of a childhood fear I had when we were living over on Alabama Avenue: I was afraid to sit down in the bathtub when I took a bath. I was afraid I'd fall backward and hit my head. The possibility of drowning always hung over me.

An image straight out of a Hitchcock movie

Friday, July 10, 2009

Trafalgar Square plinth

In Trafalgar Square in London are four enormous plinths, only three of which have statues because financing for the fourth statue fell through. For the next three months, the empty fourth plinth will be a public art experiment, consisting of 2400 Britons climbing up on the plinth for an hour each and doing whatever the hell they want.

Check out One & Other for the live webstream.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Brief conversations at the store

Some customers think that people and dinosaurs coexisted. We had an interesting variation on that theme earlier this week when a group of young women from Arkansas in the Upward Bound Program visited the store. They were looking with interest at the dinosaur section, and one of the young women said, "You can believe what you want, but I don't believe in dinosaurs."

Yesterday a woman asked, "Where is the charming shopping area with quaint shops and galleries?" And in the perfect unison of a Greek chorus, the entire staff said, "In Los Alamos??" We directed her to the Art Center at Fuller Lodge and suggested downtown Santa Fe as a stop on her itinerary.

We have a toy called Hamusuta, which is a realistic little battery-powered hamster in a plastic exercise ball. A power switch is on the bottom of the toy, and when you put the hamster in the ball, it rolls around the place and changes direction when it bumps into something (for some reason, when we release it in the toy section, it rolls over to the humor books and bumps around in there for the rest of the day).

Anyway, Perry came into the workroom and said, "Peggy, you would be very proud of me." I told him that I'm always proud of him, and asked why I was proud of him then. He said, "Well, I didn't say what I wanted to say. A girl asked me how to turn on the hamster."

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bruise news

This morning I took a picture of Michele's hail bruise with a dime to show the scale. She still hurts but is feeling better.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hailstorm update

Here's the story of the hailstorm in the Monitor/Monster/Vomiter. We filed claims with our insurance agency. The line was out the door today when I went in, and the agent said that they're going to bring a catastrophe team to Los Alamos to deal with all the claims. The skylights on the back porch were smashed up pretty badly. One of the paper-wasp nests was blown down, but we're not going to submit a claim on it. Michele's vehicles are probably totaled; we'll see.

The street sweepers were out in force today sweeping up the leaves and branches from the streets.

And here's the bruise on Michele's back this morning. As you can see, the color is more intense than it was yesterday. She said that it doesn't hurt too much. The places on her shoulder and the side of her head hurt more. The knot on the back of her head is not as big as it was yesterday.

My friend Anita took this picture.

My friend Judy took this picture of her deck.

My friend TJ took this picture of a hailstone.

And here's P-doobie in today's news.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Hail, yes

This afternoon we had the Mother of All Hailstorms on the Hill. I was walking back from lunch and managed to duck into CB Fox before I got clocked. The hail and rain defeated the storm drains, and Central Avenue was a river of hail, water, branches, and leaves.

The hail was the size of golfballs in Western Area and the size of large marbles downtown. Here is the street in front of CB Fox. I took this one with my cellphone.

Here is the hail by Re/Max looking southeast toward Metzger's.

The hail broke the windshield in Michele's truck.

It also broke the windshield of her station wagon and left dents in the roof and hood.

It stripped leaves and branches from trees.

Sophie had some smaller dents, because she was downtown. The driver's-side mirror was broken.

Michele sustained the worst damage. She was trying to save the tomatoes and was struck on the head, knees, and back by the hailstones. Here is the bruise on her back.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Making up in verve and volume what they lack in reading skills

Today we had two visitors of a particular regional persuasion who were browsing peacefully in the atomic history section. Until they came upon Richard Rhodes' The Making of the Atomic Bomb, that is.

Apparently they thought it was a cookbook or how-to manual rather than a history, and the husband said loudly, "I bet every A-rab in the country has this book!"

Ellen waited on them, and after they left, she said in the loud, quacking accent of that particular regional persuasion, "Ah tucked mah Star o' David necklace inta mah shirt, 'cause if he don't lahk A-rabs, he shore ain't gonna lahk us Jews."

A cookbook for all them guys who ain't Murcans.