austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

The expensive stuff from Annie's, or the cheaper stuff from Kraft

We had modest goals for what to accomplish Tuesday. The major objective was to get bunny_hugger's current bunny (and mice) back, which we didn't have to do much about: her parents, who were watching them over the weekend, came over and delivered them. Her rabbit and mice were in good order, happy to say, even if it took a few times going around to bring the mice back up to their designated room.

I'd met her parents once before, when I was visiting in June, and I think that I made a good impression through the simplest methods possible: I'd brought a modest gift --- a purple chrysanthemum which, according to reports, was flowering even unseasonably late, which has to be counted as one of those good omen things --- and being either polite or just shy depending on how you count these things, plus dressing up in my grown-up clothes for the office to see them. I tried for a similar approach this time, particularly by dressing like a grownup. Last time I had the remarkable prescience to get dressed just a little sooner than they were expected to arrive and was as neat as I can manage to get as they were arriving. This time ... the same curious phenomenon happened again. I went upstairs to dress at what felt like just early enough to not be too awkwardly early, and it was perfectly timed when parents, rabbit, and mice returned.

But returning the pets was just one of the things bringing bunny_hugger's parents over. They wanted to take us out to dinner independently of preparing Thanksgiving dinner. In particular they wanted to go to an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet place, Cici's Pizza. This is a chain which as far as I know isn't in my neighborhood, and this would be a now-rare buffet-place visit for me further testing my diet. Still, what's dieting for if not to allow for eating-heavy weeks like that of Thanksgiving?

The pizza buffet option I had heard most about and not believed was for a Macaroni And Cheese pizza. I suppose I'm still old-fashioned in this sort of thing and find, say, broccoli a pretty daring thing to have atop a pizza. Still, the verdict of actually trying it was ... you know, that's not bad. It had almost no tomato sauce, but plenty of cheese between the base layer and the macaroni, and with a soft crust, yes, it does work overall. I was more skeptical of the dessert feature of an apple pie pizza, but it was sweet and pleasantly chewy and, yes, it would be dangerous to live too near one of these.

Happily, bunny_hugger's parents were as pleased with my general existence and personality as they were when we first met in June, and the whole evening was pleasant and reasonably chatty by my standards. And I didn't have any problems with that ``drinking soda'' thing, although there I note we had plastic imitation glasses like my undergraduate dining halls used, rather than waxy paper cups, to depend on. We also did a bit of planning for Thanksgiving, when her parents would make the hourlong drive back again, and figure out what to have. Besides the cranberry sauce which was a natural and components for things like very sweet potatoes (it turns out a different family makes sweet potatoes differently from the way my family does) we figured out the pie agenda --- pumpkin pie, naturally, and pecan pie. bunny_hugger knew exactly where to get them, from a farm a fair drive north but also conveniently near a spot where she could get a comfortable lump of wood for a decent fire. (She has a fireplace.)

The only lingering upsetting point: bunny_hugger was feeling worse from the California Plague, bad enough that she needed to go to sleep early. Assuming she caught it from skylerbunny, and that she had been exposed a day earlier than I was ... and that she was getting sick but might be better in a day or two ... it was looking pretty strongly like I would end up sick on Thanksgiving day. We skipped going to the State Tree, but were confident that we'd get to it maybe Wednesday.

And then there was my horrible oversight: I didn't bring my USB thumb drive. What makes this horrible to me is that for reasons faintly obscure even to me I keep my archive of extracted trivia points from books, which I use for the daily trivia item when I don't have a suitable book on-hand or haven't had the time to extract something (it can be surprisingly hard to extract a concrete, definite fact even from books that are perfectly factual). While I had pre-written entries to cover my entire visit plus a couple days of margin --- apart from finishing up my humor piece for the week, which I actually managed on Tuesday --- I hadn't taken the time to pick trivia points to go with them, because I counted on that I'd have time to plug in my USB drive and select items from pre-digested books.

So what to do? For one, I could just go without trivia points; I only started including them as a guarantee that when the day come I had absolutely nothing to write about I would at least have that to enter. With actual content gone up, I hardly needed the extra sentence or two of a trivia item. This felt as unsatisfying as giving up my song-lyric subject lines would be. I could go to books that I find online, particularly NASA histories. That could work. Or bunny_hugger has a fine collection of books, a neat fraction of which I also have or have read. Or ... ah! I know I'd backed up my thumb drive on my laptop's hard drive somewhere. Can't say just where, but possibly in the Documents/Backups folder. At one point I meant to back things up regularly there, after all.

Turns out I didn't back them up so very regularly, but I did have a copy of the thumb drive from way back, and I could carry on with trivia points with nobody noticing, or possibly caring, about the difference. Well, it was important to me for a little while.

Still, there was ... I had a very, sharply clear memory of putting my thumb drive in this little compartment just the right size for thumb drives in my messenger bag. It's possible I remembered it wrong, but I usually leave the drive on my dresser so why would I have the memory of putting it in the compartment if I hadn't done that? If I had put it in my compartment, then where had it gone? Was it possible that it, like my lens cap thingy, was lost hopelessly somewhere in the outskirts of Chicago? With all the stuff I'd had on it since my ancient backup now lost to me? Where was it?

Trivia: A 1983 survey found the number of readily available varieties of cauliflower in the United States had dropped from 158 in 1903 down to nine. Source: Flash Of Genius: And Other True Stories Of Invention, John Seabrook.

Currently Reading: Isaac Asimov Presents The best Science Fiction of The 19th Century, Editors Isaac Asimov, Martin H Greenberg, Charles G Waugh. Many of these stories would these days just be setups to stories (``and she was an automaton!''), but they were generally short --- often printed in newspapers originally back in the days newspapers felt they should include interesting content --- and, boy, when these ideas are actually original thoughts of talented writers like E T A Hoffmann or Edward Bellamy or Edward Page Mitchell it still feels fresh.

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