I don't get a lot of kindness in my life. I go weeks, months, seasons, without experiencing even simple kindnesses. If, for instance, I achieve something, chances are almost 100% that I will not receive so much as a "congratulations" from a single family member or friend. But Emma did something tonight that she probably didn't think anything of, and probably was just her saying something she thought, but it meant something to me. I understand that I am different than other people, but I am still a human.
I walked three miles today, to Charlestown and back, and for the first time, I climbed the Monument ten times on back-to-back days. So twenty climbs on the weekend; or, 12,000 stairs. Without stopping once. As I was going in, this Park Ranger who gets a kick out of my routine, gave me a report on how much traffic there just had been inside the Monument. "We got hit hard early this morning, you timed it perfectly." This was a little confusing--I was there at quarter past ten, and unless they've changed the hours, or let people in early, people can start going up at ten. I enter the Monument dry; when I'm done, my shirt is so wet that you couldn't get it wetter if you soaked it in the tub. The Ranger was down at the door, to say, "Good job, as always." Yesterday I managed to do my climbs with no editorial input or interview questions, but today there were quite a few. This one guy--I wonder if he was an engineer--was pretty into getting a bead on my routine, and theorized--correctly? incorrectly?--that I was dealing with "almost 40,000 pounds of pressure" over ten climbs.
Was I? I know nothing about this. I passed him and his wife three times, I think, before they got to the top once, and when he asked me how many cycles I was doing and I answered him, he replied, "I have a good three more in me." Pretty funny. But good for them--they were probably around seventy. You do see people of all ages in the Monument. This one kid was all gung-ho and actually passed me on my eighth climb around step 100. No one passes me in the Monument. Or, it's very rare. Of course, I passed him fifty steps later, then reached the top with him a good thirty steps behind. Rookie mistake, thinking it doesn't add up and get harder and harder as you go.
And it took some doing, because things were misaligned, and she had to figure out how to solve the problem, but Andrea fixed up the Books page on this site tonight, after starting work on it yesterday. For we have a new addition to the published Fleming books family (of course, I have half a dozen other finished books at the moment; they just are not under contract yet). More on the book later. But I think the books page looks great. It's really nice to see all of the covers back-to-back-to-back-to-back like this. I think the covers are awesome. Note how bland and boring almost all covers are now. Safe and lifeless. Like the prose usually harbored within. I think I was a little bit off with the Between Cloud and Horizon cover in terms of it was a hard thing for me to put in the lap of the artist, but that's my personal quibble. All in all, though, the bee's knees. It's funny--Andrea and dated, like, five years ago when she was in college. Briefly. Then we were nothing. Then, almost three years ago to the day--it was the day after I gave up drinking--we ran into each other in the Common. Then we were friends for a while. Then nothing again. Then she graduated college, got a job, and now she is my webmaster. Most of what you see on this site, in terms of the execution of the design, is courtesy of her talents. She's responsible for making it look great.
Twenty years ago today The Phantom Menace came out. I pitched something on it, but the pitch wasn't responded to. I was watching a bit of it tonight. It's not very good, but it could have been decent. The Darth Maul stuff is the best. They under-utilized that character. I would go so far as to say that he gives the picture a sci-fi noir quality when he is in it. And this is a great movie poster.