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12:00 p.m.

Because shit flows downhill, our basement neighbors are in a bad way today. The pipes in our building are old and bad and prone to leaking, and now the basement apartment is flooding. Which wouldn't be of much concern to me, beyond a basic empathy for fellow human beings in distress, except that we, consequently, cannot take showers, flush the toilet, do laundry, wash dishes, etc.; all of which were on our to-do list for today. So, while our downstairs neighbors wait for a plumber to arrive, Heather and I are going out and about to do some shopping, and I'm trying not to pay attention to the fact that my hair needs washing and my scalp is a bit itchy as a result. Sigh. I plan to buy the new Rilo Kiley CD, and I'm going to look for the new issue of Realms of Fantasy. Heather wants to do some clothes shopping. I'm sure we'll spend some time in bookstores, too, because, hey, that's us. We'll get lunch, too, somewhere in Berkeley. Should be a good day.

We went to a Locus party yesterday, and wound up staying from 2 p.m. until around 11 p.m., longer than I'd expected -- but we were having such a good time! I had lots of good talks, with Jonathan Strahan and Karen Haber about short fiction (they're co-editors for a Year's Best series), and with Mark Budz about various things (we have the same editor at Bantam). Heather and I mostly hung out with Nick Mamatas, David Moles, Susan Groppi, and Susan Lee, and later, when all the other guests had left, Heather and I sat with Jonathan Strahan and Lisa Goldstein and Charles, eating chicken and ribs on the deck, talking into the night about all sorts of things. It was lovely, a wonderful sushi-and-champagne-filled Saturday.

Before the party Heather and I did our usual weekly walk to the Farmer's Market, though it was a high-speed version, because we had to pick up a sushi platter for the party at one o'clock. Still, we got some corn, and tomatoes, and peaches and pears and so forth. The walk was pretty unpleasant, sadly, because it was so hot. Summer has come to Oakland at last...

8:30 p.m

Today has, let us say, had its moments.

Good things first. I went to on Susan's recommendation, and downloaded a few things to listen to on the flight to Boston (which is, unbelievably, less than a week away). Heather and I had lunch in the courtyard at Raleigh's pub in Berkeley. Beer, good food, perfect weather, beautiful company; who could ask for more? Then we did some shopping, which was fun. Hit the shops on Telegraph Ave., where we ran into Jonathan Strahan in a music store (my boss was downstairs in the classical section, so we didn't see him). I bought the new Rilo Kiley CD (which is okay, but not as quirky or inventive as their earlier stuff, though the production values are much better), and a Bill Hicks album, also to listen to on the flight. I picked up the second volume of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, too, because it was on sale. I was wearing a t-shirt that was cool enough to prompt an indie record store clerk to compliment me. That's right, an indie record store clerk. This is an unprecedented achievement. Then we went to Emeryville, so Heather could buy clothes while I went to Trader Joe's. I bought a loaf of olive bread, chocolate stout (which we've been craving), some dolmas, fish, cherry juice (mmm), and olive oil (for cooking; we have excellent garlic-basil olive oil for dipping bread). We came home and the plumbing was fixed (at least temporarily, though there's every indication that the pipes are being strangled by tree roots), so we were able to shower, do laundry, clean, etc. Those are good things.

Bad things: I went to three different stores, and nobody had a copy of Realms of Fantasy. Sigh. Didn't have time to try Dark Carnival. Maybe they have it. Maybe I'll get contributor copies sometime. Maybe. We found out from our flooded-basement-neighbors that the house has mice. We've never seen any up here, but then, we have two cats. Still, that adds mice to a list of infesting vermin that already includes fleas, ants, and slugs. (It's not like the floor's covered in bugs and slugs, but we run into all three occasionally. Though no slugs in a while.) Our bathroom sink, which has been leaking for a while, is now much worse, not just dripping but pouring a steady stream of water. The plumber our landlord employs, who we've been trying to reach for almost a week, has finally said he'll come on Tuesday, in the middle of the afternoon, which means I'll have to take time off work to let him into the house, show him what's wrong, etc. Heather and I got home around 5 tonight, and have been working straight since then, doing housework, laundry, mopping, dishes, etc., all of which we would have normally spread out over the course of the day. We've only just now started preparing dinner (I'm typing as the water for pasta boils). We're sore and cranky. Our kitchen sink, which has a broken handle and has to be operated by using a screwdriver to turn the pipe stem, makes doing dishes exceedingly annoying. And to make matters worse, I put the screwdriver on the windowsill, where it promptly rolled out the open window, falling two stories into the neighbor's fenced-off back yard. They have a big wrought-iron gate in front and a thickly overgrown fence in back, so I couldn't climb in to retrieve the screwdriver, and they weren't answering their buzzer, so they couldn't let me in, either. Bah. And don't get me started on the ants.

10:45 p.m

Things are better now that I've eaten, had a cold beer, and watched a few episodes of Aqua Teen. Today wasn't a perfect day, but I've had worse, and at least the house is clean now, and I'm not hungry anymore, and we can shower anytime we want. One has to count one's blessings.

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