Cracked and shattered, eating pastries alone

I were feeling extra stupid yestermorning, so I what-the-helled and gave myself a day off from writing.

Eating sardines at noon and bumbling around, I accidentally dropped a magazine to the floor, where it hit a precariously extended extension cord, which unplugged the lamp with enough extra oomph to yank it from atop the stack of milk crates and bring it crashing to the floor, where it met a tower of unopened tuna cans that broke the bulb and cracked the ceramic, leaving two large pieces broken but still attached, and two small pieces broken off. Even with a new bulb, the lamp no longer lights.

If I were sentimental and had superglue and electrician's tape, maybe it could be fixed, but I'm not and I don't. Now it's 10:00 at night and I'm writing this under only the two light bulbs poking out of the ceiling.

Those bulbs shed barely enough light to keep me literate after dark, and me being old and increasingly blind, I need more light than they're tossing.

Also, the house wiring is from the '40s and one of the ceiling sockets make its bulb frequently flicker, so I prefer to live by the lamp that's now dead, not the bulbs over my head.

Which means I need a new lamp, or some superglue and electrician's tape and more patience than I have. 

♦ ♦ ♦  

My cat is smarter than me. As an experiment, I gave her a frickin' mountain of cat treats, and she went wild and ate lots of them, but after eating 1/3 of the mountain, she stopped.

I'd piled them in her cat bed, and soon she curled up and slept atop the leftover treats, probably dreaming of treats, but she'd eaten enough. Even after she'd napped, the pile remained, dwindling by a few bites at a time. All the treats weren't eaten until the next morning.

Me, if I buy a tube of Pringles ("about six servings," says the nutrition label) it means I'm about to eat a tube of Pringles. If they're two tubes for $4 and I buy four tubes for $8, well, I'm about to eat four tubes of Pringles.

♦ ♦ ♦  

If it sounded cocky and confident when I asked the impossible and ended up quitting at Haugen & Dahl, it's more like stupid and stubborn.

Having to have a job is ingrained in me. Knowing I won't be employed at the end of the month has been giving me almost daily headaches, sometimes a fever, and it's led to some serious binge overeating.

♦ ♦ ♦  

Eating too much has been the baseline fact of my life, probably more than even my beard or solitude. Whenever life eats at me, I eat back. Often I eat preemptively, to keep life from eating at me.

I'd been restraining myself for most of 2023, and I'm down thirty pounds from last winter. Put a little pressure on me, though, and it manifests in a whole lot of pastries.

Not even good pastries, either. I've been eating the overpriced, manufactured, wrapped-in-plastic pastries sold at convenience stores. Damned disappointing, every time. They're puffed up to look big, but they're mostly made of air and high-fructose corn syrup, in that order.

If I'm gonna binge on baked goods, and apparently I am, it ought to be real pastries from a decent bakery, but I'm cheap and lazy, and the convenience store is on my way to work every morning, and also on my way home every evening.

♦ ♦ ♦  

Yesterafternoon, though, I gathered all my gumption and bused to the Goodwill to buy a used lamp priced like new. There's a doughnut shop only a few bus stops from the thrift store, so I bought a dozen this and a dozen that, and I'm sure they guy at the counter knew they were all for me. Froze most of 'em, and the rest, I'm eating as I type this with sticky fingers.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Sometimes I wonder what damaged me along the way, what left me alone and eating pastries for most of my life. Whatever it was, if I know or even have a theory I ain't saying it out loud.

And anyway, whatever childhood trauma there was or might've been, it was over long ago. All is forgiven, and hell, I'm not sure I'd even want it wiped away. It made me who I am, and I like who I am.

Absolutely I'm fucked up, but I like who I am a lot better than whoever you are.

And man, these bear claws are terrific. 



  1. If you can't say it out loud, it's probably not truly over. . .

    When I'm in this sort of contemplative state, I know it's time to set aside 7 1/2 hours and watch *Satantango,* then I'm good for another 1000 days.

    1. Holy McMoly, that's a movie that runs 7 hours and 19 minutes, and has an IMDB rating of 8.2, which is higher than even THE 5,000 FINGERS OF DOCTOR T. Is there singing and dancing?

    2. I find Tarr pretty tedious. The length isn't the problem, it's the lack of weight. Compared to Tarkovsky or Bergman or Kieslowski or Angelopoulos, he's just a glorified music video director with pretensions.

      You want a long movie (okay, episodic TV, really) that packs a punch, watch Fassbinder's 14-hour Berlin Alexanderplatz. It's the tits.

    3. At some point I really should simply close nominations — I have so many movie mp4s waiting, and no time to watch...

      But I'm a sucker for truly good episodic TV, and you're telling me it's the tits (high praise indeed). My local library has three copies circulating on DVD, which in itself is impressive for a 40-year old TV show in German.

      I have reservations about it, and I'm third in line.

    4. There's some great dancing in *Satantango.*

    5. Did you see Satan singing and dancing in the SOUTH PARK movie? I want to see that again...

  2. Unemployed and a craving for pastries? The answer is: Look for work in a bakery. Dahlia's on 4th is hiring for a cashier right now.

    Bah, fuck that - pretty good food, but typical effete Seattle ambience, lotsa touristos and rich whiteys. That could provide some interesting conflict for the blog, though. Maybe it'd be better to work in a Mexican or Asian bakery in the ID? I could spend the rest of my life in Uwajimaya. Heck, food blogs are huge, it could be good scheme for you, maybe a YouTube channel: Fat Slob Chows Down

    I'm a pastry man myself. Never ever craved hard candy, super sweet stuff, but pastries? Fuck yes - flaky dough, dusting of sugar, cream or fruit fillings, sprinkle of nuts - I'm on it.

    1. These are all fine suggestions, but restaurant work pays kinda crappy, and I imagine doughnut shop work pays even worse.

      Never heard of Dahlia's, but yeah, it looks snooty, and who wants snooty doughnuts? My place is a dive with linoleum tables and formica floors, that used to be a Wichell's fifty years ago. Damned fine doughnuts, though, and reasonably priced.

      Doughnuts to die for, probably.

      I'm still eknocking on edoors looking for work in a homeless shelter, maybe to rent a room there too. Or trade work for a room, like Roger Miller — two hours of pushing broom buys an 8x12 four-bit room, I've heard.

      It's an unlikely ask, though. We'll see.

    2. Let me be the guy without career advice tonight. I do care -- that's why I'm not going to pile any more advice on you.

      But I do have a doughnut shop that absolutely nobody on this bloggy site is very close to except me. Pao's is just about a mile from the Tacoma terminus of the Narrows Bridge. Pao is from Cambodia, and 25 years ago he decided to buy some traditional doughnut-making equipment from the 50s or 60s and learn how to make terrific doughnuts. He has a partner, who is also from Cambodia. He gets to work at 0200 seven days a week and starts making doughnuts. He (or his partner) opens at 0600, and he's finishing the last of the fresh pastries by 0800. They're the best doughnuts/pastries I've ever had. The doughnuts are a buck and a half each and worth much more. Pao doesn't take shortcuts in food prep. He's the real deal. The only problem is that he sees me too often. My cardiologist would shit doughnut shaped bricks if she knew.


    3. You'll remember this, John — there used to be pretty good mom & pop doughnut shops scattered all over. There were half a dozen along the way from my house to the church every Sunday. They all made doughnuts and bear claws before dawn, and they were good.

      Where they went, I dunno. Makes no sense — Americans keep getting more and more obese like me, so were are all the doughnut shops? The one I go to is no Pao's, but it's good, and it's like the old doughnut shops, not some silly doughnut boutique, like most of the few storefront bakeries that still exist.

    4. Wow, that is one weird and dated ode to the housewife. Love the eroticized broomstick at that second link.

      I'm mildly a fan of Jody Miller, so gotta point out she was never Mrs Roger Miller, nor related to him at all.

    5. Sorry, no imbedded imbedded replies. Pao's is worth a bus ride to Tacoma. When you're feeling social in the next decade or two, take the bus to Tacoma and I'll be pleased to buy you a few Pao's doughnuts. It's in an abandoned fast-food stand-alone building, so they even have a rickety sort of drive-thru, but we'll go inside. It's tacky in a lovely sort of way, but the fresh doughnuts come out on large trays that serve as display shelves for the twenty kinds of pastries they sell.

      They have a couple of tables. I've never sat at one, but they look serviceable. They sell espresso, but I don't drink coffee, so I'll smuggle in a bottle of water. It'll be romantic.


    6. Tacoma is a long, long bus ride. Of course, I like long bus rides. I'd need more than "a few" doughnuts, though, especially if they're as good as you say.

      Realistically, a trip to Tacoma is only a smidge more likely than a trip to Cuba. The recliner is my habitat, I rarely wander far, and in person I'm a zilch.

    7. Well, I said in the next decade or two. You have a while to think it over. I suppose Pao is somewhere around 50, and business is steady and seems to be growing, but not spectacularly. His kids and his partner's kids are just getting through high school, and all of them are going to college and beyond. On doughnuts. Pao and his partner value education so their kids don't have to start work at 0200. They all pull shifts at the shop in the summer, and a couple are local (mostly UWT), so work all year.

      I seem to have lost my point, but I think it was that you have time to change your mind about visiting, and either way I value being your web friend. I'll check back in a visit in the next year or two.



    8. John John — the name so nice he types it twice.

      If work or some obligation brings me to Tacoma, or close enough that the bus stops say Pierce County, I might seriously consider a pow-wow at Pao's.

      Let's you and me both stay healthy and alive and maybe something sweet and powdered will happen.

    9. Not so easy to reply.

      King of the Road hit AM radio in 1965, the year that I had access to a decent FM receiver and somebody in Seattle was playing album music on an FM station. But before I said goodbye to KJR forever, I heard King of the Road about 57 times. I tried to tune it out, but with an analog station selector, (I was too young to drive) it's a pain in the ass to dislocate and relocate. I swear I heard (57 times) " "Two hours of pushin' broom
      Buys an eight by twelve four bed room"

      Hell, my dad had grown up sharing a bedroom with his two brothers. Four didn't seem out of the question.

      But, of course you're right. It's four bit.


    10. Four bits, though — that's 50¢. I don't think you could get a room for the night for 50¢ even in the '60s.

      When did they kill KJR, btw? Now it's sports talk, and who gives a rip about that? KJR Seattle Channel 95 should be about rock'n'roll.

      Back in the city after 30 years away, I was pleasantly surprised that KZOK is still on the air, and still KZOK. Too many damned commercials, though.

    11. KJR dropped its Top-40 format in 1982, but it took until about 1998 to make it ALL sports. The station was sold and bought a couple of times along the way.


    12. The new term for it is "enshittification," coined by Cory Doctorow in 2022. The world is drowning in it.


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