austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Whatever you got, you sure make me feel real

Another thing we did, the day before our relationship anniversary, was head to Ann Arbor. We hadn't been there together since summer, and that for a pinball event. We've had busy weekends, even as we had a light winter with many days that would make walking around easy and comfortable. So we set out early on a Sunday to wander around the city.

Some of it was simple touching base with things we hadn't done in ages. Going to Ashley's, for example, a bar with among other things fries covered in melted Stilton cheese. This is possibly the best thing to eat ever, and we don't get it enough. Possibly it'd be dangerous to get it too often.

Next door to Ashley's, and up a stairwell, is Wazoo Records. It's a small used record shop but nicely packed. bunny_hugger found a Gene Pitney album of interest. Her father had an extensive Pitney collection that disappeared at some point. She picked up a copy of the 1968 album She's A Heartbreaker, which delighted us all the more by having on the cover the note that it contained Pitney's hit sing, ``She's A Heartbreaker''. It's all so very orderly that way.

Not quite next door, but just around the corner, is the Dawn Treader used book shop. We hadn't been there in several visits. It's an endearing and packed book shop with the classic design, that is, several different rooms with different sizes and different floor levels connected by stairs of odd sizes or not-quite-level ramps. Deep in the science fiction section they had a cardboard cutout of Jean-Luc Picard which was leaning at an odd angle, as if Patrick Stewart was creeping on you.

I kept looking around and around because leave me alone in a good used bookstore like that and I'll pretty much never come out. bunny_hugger found an oddity. It was a parody of the Schott's Original Miscellany, a string of trivia-and-miscellaneous-fact knowledge popular a decade ago in the United Kingdom. The Unoriginal Miscellany --- you can guess what the possessive before that was --- was so thoroughly straightfaced that it was hard to be sure what it was parodying. I mean, like, John Hodgman's books you can open and find, in each paragraph, a thing that's obviously absurdist. Here, there'd be pages where everything looks, honestly, legitimate, like diagrams of how to safely carry a trunk up stairs. And then in the corner would be a list of unpopular boy's names that includes several Spice Girl names or ``William'' and ``Harry''.

We didn't buy the book. It was great for skimming in the bookstore, but to make a permanent resident of our home? It didn't have enough stuff that was obviously funny. Some of that's cultural differences, of course; jokes about soccer team names require context. Some of that's obviously deliberate; they surrounded the jokes with a lot of serious stuff, which does make legitimate jokes punch better. But it really is more the sort of thing to run across in a used book store and poke around for a little while.

Trivia: The first edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica explained drama in seven lines, poetry in five hundred words, and cures for horse diseases in 39 pages. Source: Know-It-All, A J Jacobs.

Currently Reading: Paradise Now: The Story of American Utopianism, Chris Jennings.

PS: Packing For Higher Dimensions, as there's some interesting results about eight-dimensional spheres.

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