Sunday, January 06, 2002


So here I sit. Sunday morning in an "assisted care" facility in Arizona. I should be writing things. I should be doing things with computer programs. I should be phoning people, who should be up by now, but I really don't want to wake anybody up. I want them to be in a good mood when I call.

There's no TV. There's no Internet. Unless you count the TV from next door. Seems to be some sort of preacher. I can't make out words, but the tones are distinctive. Probably middle of the road, like everything else here. Not subtle theological points, but not "death to Democrats" either.

That "middle of the road" is subject to interpretation; this is Arizona, after all. I am not interested in any more explanations of how Bill & Hillary Clinton are the Embodiment of Evil. I'm from DC. I hear all the political rumors first. If I haven't heard it, somebody is making it up.

Dad is taking things rather well. Donn has things under control. I'm worried about finances; Donn talks a good show, but doesn't seem to be making any money. Odd for a supposed expert on robotics, assembly line automation, AI, and computer graphics. He seems to get whatever money he has by helping people set up their computers. Donn is not good with money. However, if he's going to continue helping Dad, he will need power of attorney on Dad's money. He already has medical power of attorney; when Dad broke his hip, Donn was able to take care of everything before Dad regained consciousness.

Solitaire on the computer. What music I have recorded onto the computer. I bought some headphones at Fry's. Nice sound, but not comfortable for long term listening. The speakers on the laptop are lousy. I bought some DVDs. Not comfortable to watch on the computer. In any case, I get really irritated trying to watch something more than once a year or so. My memory's too good. "Yeah, yeah. Get on with it."

I know that this is drivel, but it's the only thing I can seem to come up with. I should be writing up a paper on what's really going on with the stock market (the story the Powers that Be don't want you to hear). Or doing a formal write-up on my ideas for a new operating system (Unix is not the ultimate OS). Or a "diff" program for XML (a SAX parser would let us handle files of any size) The brain doesn't seem to be working that way.

It's Sunday. The service is on Thursday and I leave on Friday. Counting the hours. I only hope that all the Fiesta Bowl folks have left by Friday. I don't want to have to spend two hours standing in line at the airport like I did on the way out.

The Funeral

Well, she died. I suppose I should be singing "Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead". I don't have the heart. Dad loved her (in my cynical mind, for all the wrong reasons). Her two sons are great guys.

There were five of us at the graveside service. Don and Fred, her sons, Diane, Fred's wife, Dad, and me. The service was kind of "out of the box" generic Protestant, with nothing to show that it was Presbyterian. We were all standing up. After the preacher was done talking, Fred put her ashes in a little hole in the ground next to a fountain. He tried to get Dad to help; Dad can't bend over too well after the hip replacement. Don took a video; he doesn't think it will come out because of the lighting. I thought the lighting was fine but I have never done videos. Don is a pro.

At some point, they will plant roses around the fountain.

She was loud, bossy, opinionated, ignorant, and bigoted. The last time I talked to her, she did her anti-Italian rant to my Italian wife. I dropped the ball -- I'm so used to being ranted at, cursed, and insulted that it just bounces off of me. My wife doesn't have that kind of crust. I simply didn't pick up on what was happening. After all, isn't that what everybody's elderly relatives do? Tell you how you are the scum of the Earth and deserve to be taken out and shot?

I brought up my wife's ancestry in conversation. From the looks on faces, apparently they had never picked up on this -- even though I'm sure I explained why my wife's family has three different last names. They could have asked before this. Nobody cared enough to ask why we were upset.

The Fisher King, the Guardian of the Holy Grail, was wounded by a spear through the thighs (PG version) or testicles (real version). He can only be free from the pain when a visitor to the Grail Castle asks the cause of his distress.

My father cannot bear to utter the words "I don't know" or "I was wrong". But why is it that hard to ask "what's wrong"?

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