February 6th, 2003



Today I feel very unbraced. Last night too.

The bus this morning was pretty crowded. I had to sit on one of the seats facing sideways instead of facing the front of the bus. So every time the bus lurched (and this driver was lurching it a lot) I would sway forward (to my left) and back (to my right). Because I couldn't put my hands on the bar or on the end of the seat (I was in the middle seat between two people), I had no way to prevent myself from swaying. Felt like vertigo.

That's basically the way I feel in general today. Totally unbraced. Unable to prevent myself from swaying with the lurching of life.


Expiration Date by Tim Powers

Expiration Date coverI've been working on Expiration Date for almost three weeks now. This is not a quick read. The book is kind of a mixed bag for me. Interesting plot and characters, but draggy in some parts and confusing in others. Also, just a bit too much of the whip out a new paranormal item brand of fantasy.

The plot is basically this: Los Angeles is full of ghosts. Some people are in tune with ghosts for various reasons. Some are ghost junkies, inhaling the essences of dead people (I never quite understood why). Some are ghost hungers. Other have a connection to a ghost because of unresolved guilt. And then there are the ghosts themselves. Everything starts in the book when the ghost of Thomas Edison is freed from a vial and attaches itself to the person of Koot Hoomie Parganas, a 12 year old boy who is being groomed by his parents to be a sort of messiah for an Indian sect. Edison is such a powerful ghost that the entire ghost world of Los Angeles is abuzz. Hunters start chasing him. Other ghosts awaken. Loretta deLarava is chasing after many of the most powerful, and she wants to use Pete Sullivan as a ghost magnet. He used to work for her, but once he figured out her scheme had disappeared from her grasp for a number of years. So basically all the bad guys are chasing after Edison or some of the other powerful ghosts who are running around as a result of Edison's release. Sullivan, Edison, Parganas and several other characters are trying to prevent themselves from being used and inhaled. Everything culminates in a battle on the decks of the Queen Mary permanently docked in the Los Angeles harbor.

Yeah… don't have much more to say about it. There are probably 20 characters in the book and it's hard to keep them all straight. Worth reading, but don't go out of your way to pick it up.


Symphonie Fantastique

Went to Symphonie Fantastique tonight. I really needed to go, cause I needed to connect with someone tonight. Unfortunately, midway through the second movement of one of the opening pieces, a Mozart concerto, a older man two rows in front of my and four seats to the left yelled out. He sounded kind of like a mentally disabled person, but when I stood up and looked, he appeared to be having a spasm. His face was stretched out in fear, and he continued to yell. My first thought was heart attack. He had people to either side, so I dashed to the hallway and told one of the ushers to get a doctor and call 911. Then I rushed back in, hoping I wouldn't have to help with CPR or something like that, cause I don't know what is the correct thing to do and I didn't want to hurt him further. A number of people were lifting him out of his chair to lay him down in an aisle. Luckily, this was not a low-budget local band in concert. The people at the symphony are pretty affluent, and that means there were lots of doctors within several rows. The symphony was still playing, although it was not even 30 seconds since he had first cried out. They heard, but weren't sure what was going on; the conductor was directing without looking at the orchestra, looking back out toward the commotion. Deborah was on the phone with 911, as were about 4 or 5 other people. The orchestra stopped, and we had an early intermission while the man was moved to the hallway outside where there was more room. He didn't look unconscious, but he looked to be in pain, not able to move, and very afraid.

Most everyone shuffled out of the auditorium, and we had our intermission. When they resumed the concert, the man was still in the hallways, but it appeared like they were getting ready to remove him. I noticed only one seat was empty. He had come alone.

Symphonie Fantastique was wonderful. I like imagining the visions that Berlioz intended this to be evoking. Demons and whatnot. The piece is rich, harps and horns and strings. A few oboes, one in a prominent duet. None done to excess. And definitely a contrast with the opening Mozart pieces.

I'm kind of glad I don't know what happened to the gentleman having the problem. Going on with the showing knowing he had died would have ruined it. And I am glad it was not ruined by the man, as callous as that may seem. No one blithely continued, ignoring the situation, but no one got so caught up that we all had to go home either. Nevertheless I was tense for a good half hour after the incident. I do hope he is either dead or nicely sedated and recovering, because he looked to be in a lot of pain.