Thursday, June 22, 2006

Dictionaries and writers

Steve, this quote is for you: "No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money."

Now, who said it? Samuel Johnson. Yes, THAT Samuel Johnson. I visited the house where he was born. Lichfield, a 5-minute drive from here, seems podunk at first. Sure, there's the cathedral. But once you've seen one, you've seen one. So the kids went to the park with their dad while I squeaked around the four floors of the corner house reading pages of the dictionary. (My college dorm mate once caught me reading the dictionary and thought I was if she needed that scene for an excuse!)

Johnson's house, which was built by his father, was interesting, and they have little bits and pieces from his life (paintings, reproductions, and books, books, books). But here I was tucked away in this non-descript house in the center of town when I saw a guest book. Aha! I'll sign it and be the first Californian going back at least weeks! Right? Nope. Another Californian was in earlier that day and another was in just four days ago. Sigh. The world is already too small.

We'll head back to Lichfield maybe tomorrow, depending on the weather. Erasmus Darwin (Charles' father) lived here, and he was the one who gave Charles quite a few of the ideas around evolution--it's just that Charles gathered more evidence (eg Galapagos) and presented it in papers. More later...

I spent about half an hour or more walking around the town looking for the park where Terry took the kids. I finally found it, but they weren't there. I headed to the car, and there they were huddled inside keeping warm. It's still in the 50s here and windy. We're expecting RAIN tomorrow. I'm reading about the CA heat wave and wishing we took some of that weather with us. We're telling everyone that this "summer" weather is what California gets in December.

It took us a while to find a place for lunch. I wanted Indian, but unlike CA where all the Indian restaurants open for lunch and not dinner, here it's the opposite. I did see a Subway, which made the kids happy, but I refused on principle. We found a really good cafe with loads of vegetarian options. I had a wrap with roasted bell peppers, feta cheese, and a sweet chili sauce. I also had a huge mochaccino. The girls split a baked potato; the guys ate (don't laugh) quiche.

I think I'm going to start a cultural differences entry each day. Today's entry: ICE. You can't get it here. Seriously. We asked for tap water and got it--straight from the tap, no ice. We brought over tequila to make margaritas this weekend, but they don't have ice at the house. Well, we could make some...yeah, right. So we said we'll just go to the store and grab a bag. A bag? You know, of ice? Uh...sorry. So we went through this ordeal of where we might actually purchase a large quantity of ice. Ah, try iceland. Not the country, the store. It's all about the frozen foods. (No, you won't find CostCo here.) They had 4lb bags of ice for a pound, which is about $1.90. So we bought two. You'd think that in a place as cold as this, ice would be free. Or at least cheaper than it is in the states. But see, because it is so cold here, no one wants a cold drink. We put our cans of beer outside to get cold. (The fridges here are slightly larger than ones kids put in their dorm rooms in the states. Really.) (You can get "American style" ones; some friends of ours who lived in the states for two years ended up buying one after getting spoiled.)

Now we're all tuckered out and everyone's in bed except me, as usual. I'll leave with a photo of the entry for "resty". The quote completely describes the traveling life.



At 7:44 PM, Blogger sarette said...

"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money."

Doctor Johnson never met the internet. I wonder how many bloggers there are out there now, writing entirely for free.

Or all the would-be novelists for that matter, who will never make any money t it, although they at least WANT to get paid.

At 3:12 AM, Blogger Kelly A. Harrison said...

Yeah, I thought it was a hoot, but appropriate for what you said about your novel (which I was reading last night, btw). So, are we a nation of blockheads?

At 1:43 PM, Blogger sarette said...

Insofar as we are a nation that adheres to post hoc reasoning and that allows ourselves to be distracted by big boobies on American Idol, yeah, I'd say we're a nation of blockheads. After all, this has enabled the rise of corporate conservatism in America today.

It is because so many of us are now writing for free that I think we might be about ready to move on from blockhead status.


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