burning the midnight creosote


We lost one of our local landmarks to a huge fire last night. Stearns Wharf, the wooden pier at the end of State St. in Santa Barbara, was built in the 1800's and, until about 9:30pm Wednesday, was the oldest working wooden pier on the California coast. As you'd expect from a structure made of creosote-infused wood, its demise was spectacular. It wasn't a complete loss though, in fact most of the pier still stands, and what remains will be the anchor for a new more thrilling wharf, I'm sure.

The live news coverage of the raging inferno was most entertaining when the TV anchorpersons interviewed several of the witnesses who'd been on the pier when the flames erupted. They were mostly young beach town people, who were as facile with the language as you might expect young beach town people to be, and they had names like Slate and Bo and Moonpup. One of them expressed a heightened sense of explosive awareness when he said "And like I saw all this fire, y'know, and it was all like burning and stuff, and I was like really scared cause like I just saw 'The Siege' and so now I'm like really afraid of explosions and stuff, and so I was like really scared."

His gripping narrative made me picture in my mind's eye not the raging inferno but a sweating news director, poised over a kill switch, waiting to hear "baba booey."

* * * * * * *

I can count myself today among the ranks of Archipelago, a web ring that includes several of the diarists I read regularly. It's a pleasure to be in their company. Members there have an option to include a photograph of themselves on the Archipelago On Sight page, and a visit to that page is something more akin to a walk past the reptile house now that I've had the gall to stick my mug up there. I'm doing my best to look powerfully serious in the photo, because, as you know, I am a powerfully serious man, and my gaze is so potent that it will surely bore a hole into the right temple of the woman in the adjoining photo.

* * * * * * *

Viv's web project for her company has been cutting into my computer time and I've had to work around her schedule. Evenings have been wiped off my writing calendar, and even some of my daylight and weekend stints are being overridden by her need for this machine. This has left me with late late nights for whipping up my little missives, and as you can plainly see, they suffer due to my lack of sleep. Things get bleary and blurry and before you know it I don't care about grammar anymore, or craft, or even personal hygiene. Hallucinations begin. Last night I kept focusing on how a torn cuticle looked like a little nativity scene. It's bad.

I've been whispering laptop hints into Viv's ear at night, but I don't think it's having an effect. There is no break in the rhythm of the snore. The monotone nature of her drone seems to suggest that no ideas are being submitted, though there are occasional loud sudden snorts which might point to some progress if they weren't such a common element of her normal sleep pattern.

I'm telling you this simply because it's important for you to know. You know that, right?

So, I don't know if anything will happen on the laptop front. I may have to find other ways of convincing her that a laptop in the house is a Good Thing.

Here's a thought that doesn't have anything to do with anything else. What would you think of a special section of this journal, a section devoted solely to, oh let's say Viv's quirks? Maybe with photos of her junior high school years? Her siblings' memories of her growing up? Hmmm?


Today's Music:

"Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" -- Stephane Grappelli -- STEPHANE GRAPPELLI PLAYS JEROME KERN


Wisdom of the Day:

"Men love... newfangledness."

- Geoffrey Chaucer, "The Squire's Tale," in The Canterbury Tales