Wed May 11th, 2016
|08:48 pm - Chronicles of Fail|
Have been mildly worried about the failure of my insurance cheque to clear. Contacted the broker twice, was told first time that yes they'd received the cheque, and the second that yes they'd cashed it and all was good to go. But still it didn't show up in my online statements, and I was getting tired of reminding myself that that balance was actually 'minus $350.' At last decided I must jump through the Royal's telephone hoops and find out what was going on. I leave my chequebooks lying about the way I leave my hats, and write cheques from whichever one first comes to hand, so tracking down a number can be an iffy proposition. But I hoped the one I'd written the insurance cheque in was still where I wrote it two months ago, on the front room table. And it was, and I'd noted the cheque number for a change, and I was girding my loins to call when I suddenly saw what was written at the top of the chequebook: Bank of Nova Scotia. I'd written it to my line of credit. Did I notice it on my last credit statement? No, of course not.
Went to pump my tires this morning. I have little lights screwed to the valaves- skulls, actually, but they light up nicely. Started to unscrew the skull from the rear wheel and it wouldn't unscrew. Turned harder and heard a sighing noise. Had broken the valve clean from the tube. Walked it to the bike shop two blocks away and miraculously the guy was able to fix it right away. Rode back home and clearly didn't use my brakes, because when I was tooling off to shop later the brakes didn't catch. Took it back to the shop and asked if he could tighten the brake up. Which he did, or tried to do, but said it was hard to get at the brake mechanism with my carrier in the way. The boss of the bike shop had made my brakes feather-touch last fall, but assistant is not the boss. And though the boss was there, he was in a grumpy mood and not inclined to help. (Boss has a very on-and-off again relation to reality.) So I must haul on the brakes if I want to stop my bike- and of course, every other bike shop in this town can't promise anything better than 'tomorrow by six, maybe.'
Magnifico, at last. Very pro-Lorenzo, but reasonable enough as an outline of the times. I was overly-influenced by those Time-Life books with their beautiful photographs, that made the Renaissance seem a serene centre of learning and civilization in plain but elegant surroundings.
And Guidobaldo, when he made
That grammar school of courtesies
Where wit and beauty learned their trade
Upon Urbino’s windy hill,
Had sent no runners to and fro
That he might learn the shepherds’ will.
Yes, well. The Montefeltros were mercenaries. When Guidobaldo's father Federico took the town of Volterra for Florence, his troops went on a rampage and sacked the town. Federico was too busy inspecting a polyglot bible he'd discovered in a monastery to be aware of what was going on and the sack went on for hours before he could be found and informed of it.
(It's also an eye-opener how young these people died. Their grandfathers lived into their 60s, but the younger generation died of sickness in their early 40s, like Lorenzo, or mid-30s, like Guidobaldo.)
Stories Old and New, a Ming Dynasty Collection. A door-stopper from the shelf that will take as long as Magnifico, being 200 pages longer. Have read some of it randomly but now am working my way through it. Backwards, just for a change. But oh! manly Chinese men are all bumptious idiots given to adolescent antics. Hope there's a few more scholars in there.
Murakami's Hamabei no Kafuka, Kafka on the Shore in Japanese. Also a long-term undertaking, but so much easier than
Phantom Moon Brothel 4. As always, Ima Ichiko convinces me I don't know Japanese.
For day-to-day reading, Deborah Harkness' Shadow of Night, the one that takes place in the 16th century. For the Shakespeare challenge, but again, I'm betting Shakespeare will fail to show. (Maybe I should make this a Marlowe challenge?) The vampire hero is also a bumptious idiot.
Probably something to take the taste of Harkness out of my mouth, but then again, maybe the third volume in the trilogy just to be done with it.
I had the option of doing it online but I have all these cheques... And um, yeah- aged population, working poor, wide northern spaces without broadband: lotsa people don't have computers or internet. I'd have thought Norway was the same, actually, at least where the aging rural computerless are concerned.
Canada is indeed uncivilised, but that's partly because our PO was never more than a post office and rather useless for money transfers.
Stores don't take cheques and possibly never did in the last 40 years. But utilities and the government still do, much though they really want you to use online banking or bank payment.