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January 3rd, 2006

hollandish

Despite my plans to do a fair bit of reading over the winter break this hasn't actually been the case. The copies of The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco and We Are All Suspects Now by Tram Nguyen have been sitting in the same box they were packed in two weeks ago, while I've only just started the ninth chapter of Moby Dick. However, after finding that the Bubble Tea Station has mysteriously vanished I stopped by Barnes & Noble and was quite surprised to see that Arturo Pérez-Reverte's Captain Alatriste has finally been translated into English. It was originally written in 1995, but even with the popularity of The Flanders Panel and The Club Dumas it's taken ten years for this publication to come out. The first dozen pages have me interested, so if there's one book I'll finish before the start of the new semester it's bound to be this one.

« Captain Alatriste, as I was saying, lived by his sword. Until I came into the picture, that "Captain" was more an honorary title than a true rank. His nickname originated one night when, serving as a soldier in the king's wars, he had to cross an icy river with twenty-nine companions and a true captain. Imagine, Viva España and all that, with his sword clenched between his teeth, and in his shirtsleeves to blend into the snow, all to surprise a Hollandish contingent. They were the enemy at the time because they were fighting for independence. In fact, they did win it in the end, but meanwhile we gave them a merry chase. »

Ah, those crazy Habsburgs with their notions of empire-building grandeur. In other news, it's taken most of my vacation but I've finally managed to make plans with other people for the next few days. I never did go to see München with Saeng Min - he was feeling rather sick and we both slept through the morning showing we had planned to attend - so instead I'll be seeing it with Violet on Thursday. She won't let me drive down to Centralia to pick her up, and this despite the fact that her car is just as eccentric as the Peugeot. Oh well; it was worth offering.
The Peugeot stalled at an intersection on my way to meet umilicious for lunch yesterday and no amount of effort on my part could get it to start again. Rather strange considering how I was able to drive across town by way of the freeway the night before. Still, a police cruiser eventually arrived to push me out of harm's way and into a nearby parking lot - or the entrance of one anyway; I still had to push the Peugeot into a stall with Luana assisting from behind the wheel.

If nothing else we were next to the Mayan Restaurant, so we went there for lunch instead. While we were eating our waiter came by and asked if everything was going well for "the señor and señora" - which led Luana to later comment on how she didn't want to be a señora yet. However, with Luana's daughter there it's always possible that our waiter thought we were married with our own family - resulting in his use of the older, more respectful female form over the less polite señorita. Or maybe he really did think she looked older than 24.

After lunch I stopped by the library to see if my mom would be willing to try jump-starting my car on her break, but in an odd case of timing she had decided to take the bus to work that day. This gave me five hours to kill before she'd be finished with work, and the first thing I did was walk over to buy myself a drink from Bubble Island while it was still early in the day. Along the way a former coworker waved at me as she was driving by and, after spending an hour at the music store, I saw another past employee in the parking lot as she came running over to catch me. Funny how a serious problem can result in positive side effects.

Unfortunately the battery charger that my mom owns wasn't able to do much for the Peugeot. We called a tow truck and had the car brought back to my parents' house, where it's sitting as I write this. Our tow truck driver commented on how it sounded like a battery problem (which may involve the alternator), but the key doesn't seem to work in the ignition the way it should, so that may also be something to look into as well. It seems as though I just don't have any luck at all when it comes to the Peugeot.