Thursday, March 06, 2003

I just got off the net after bidding for an acoustic guitar pickup on E-bay. I’ve never bid for anything on E-bay. I’ve lurked often, but this is my first foray into online auction bidding. I used to buy a lot of books from Amazon, especially when I lived in Arizona and did not have access to a large library. Today I tried out a Dean Markley pickup at a guitar shop in DeKalb. The proprietor wanted to sell one for $80. I’m not willing to pay more than $50. I could buy one immediately off E-bay for $35, but bid $26. We’ll see how this experience plays out. I’ll certainly save money versus music store prices. I thanked Don (who wore a shiny black nylon wind jacket with his name spelled in cursive on the right breast) the music store owner with ferocious bad breath I could smell across the room, by spending $17 on a strap, picks, a chord chart and chord book. The guitar I tested the pickup on has a warped neck at around the 12th fret, and when I told Ron he said, cheap Washburns, they’re made in China now, whaddaya expect, and put it back on the rack. Such a contrast to the old man at Pegasus Music on Charles Street who sold me my Washburn acoustic. His shop was neat, clean and efficient. And he knew each instrument. But when I had him replace the nut bridge on my brother’s electric Fender Telecaster, he did a shoddy homemade job.

Esther’s Scandinavian intuition paid off. It snowed over the last two days, about 7 inches total, the first significant snowfall we’ve gotten this winter, two weeks before spring. Last night I got pretty tipsy off draft beers at LTs, but took the hangover precaution -- plenty of water and ibuprofen – and got up at 5:40 a.m. with Esther, still a little sluggo-headed. We drove about 15 minutes north to the Atwood Forest Preserve and watched the sun rise as we cross country skied across a golf course. It snowed about an inch more last night, and the cover this morning was all powdery and light. Today the afternoon temperature rose to the upper 30s, and now the top layer is all crusty and will be more difficult to ski through.

I’m such a man’s man, though, tough enough to break trail and watch the sun rise after slamming brewskis the night before. Esther was surprised I joined her. But I stirred when she awoke and went to the bathroom. Eric, our upstairs neighbor, had a weird movie or music playing, with this weird high pitched screaming. My head pounded and cheeks felt puffy, and know the only way I could exorcise the hangover beast was to exercise it into extinction. Plus, it was cool to see the ends of Esther’s hair collect frost and turn white.

The rest of the day included errands and busyness. I replaced a headlight bulb in the car, went to the bank and picked up my debit card, which I left in their machine, drove to DeKalb to pick up some CD’s from Ron, ate at Mandarin Chinese Restaurant, where the indoor décor is rummage saley kitsch (tacky, but in a clever way). Certainly a feast for the eyes, like the four-feet tall plaster cast lamp of a shirtless turbaned hero (he holds the lamp light aloft in his right hand), a Precious Moments clock, and a Joy of Painting nature scene of cattails in a lake. It was the waitress’ second day and she was there all alone. Ron wanted to know what vegetables were in the Mongolian Beef, and she said she didn’t know. The cook returned from an errand and came to our table. He was tan, Asian, with silver caps over his front teeth, and spoke broken English. But thereafter he catered to us personally, asking, “you like?” when we finished our egg rolls, as if to make up for his absence when we arrived.
I used to go to the Mandarin with Todd back in 1996 and 97, college days. We’d stop there every once in a while after playing tennis. In the meantime they’ve added more items to the interior décor, but is otherwise blissfully the same as it was then, including the menu and prices.

Today was a good, productive day. I sailed through it in an amused, detached, melancholy mood, which at first glance could appear to be depression, because I feel more mellow and less happy than normal. I’m not unhappy, just feeling mellow and reflective.

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