Sometimes It’s Monday All Week

Kage Baker used to say (quoting from Home To You) “It’s tired and I’m getting late.”

She listened to KPFK a lot in the 60’s and 70’s, especially late at night: they habitually broadcast from alternate universes, and Kage remembered everything she heard. The Firesign Theatre resurfaced a large proportion of her cerebellum, I believe,  regularly assisted by the Gas Company Concerts and the late-night voice of host Melvin Cross …

At least, to judge by the letters I got during my time at UC Irvine. I spent the first year in all my life living away from home there.  Kage sent daily excerpts, from a point where a space-time portal had evidently been installed in her tower. It had always been rather weird up there, but it got a lot weirder the year I was gone. Or so Kage reported it, sending me tales of daily phantasmagoria that left me dreadfully homesick.

She wrote them at night, and when the stars paled toward dawn would creep down and put the letters on the mantlepiece to be mailed by whoever went out first in the morning. I got the fat, wax-sealed and pen-and-ink sketch decorated envelopes on a daily basis, mostly – sometimes the USPS would screw up and I’d miss a day, then get two or three at once. Sometimes Kage would have more to say than she’d thought she would (especially when she was sending me chapters of stories) and I’d get an extra.

(They were so odd-looking that my roommates asked wistfully if I was getting drugs from home. No, but I got fruitcake! I love fruitcake. No one else wanted any, though; which was handy because it was what I mostly lived on that year.)

And sometimes Kage would run right out of time, energy, supplies or inspiration (I did get letters in crayon … also home-made envelopes) and I’d get the Peter Rowan quote noted above. With a list of amusing oddities she had compiled from real life, in the temporary paucity of her own imagination. This, for example, was where she first attempted to convince me that raw potatoes caused tularemia … one of my other favourites was her translation, into American vernacular, of various librettos from lesser-known operas in her treasured The Victor Book of Operas. Gilda the Goat Girl was especially poignant.

And this is the state I am in today, sunk in ennui and utterly without creative energy. I’ve eaten most of a box of Turkish Delight (rose flavoured), and the only result is that I am out of Turkish Delight. The calendar says it’s Wednesday, but it lies – this is one of those weeks where Monday is being endlessly replicated. I suspect my Kit Kat Klock is sneering at me when I look away from it – however, one’s family starts to worry if one sits there staring belligerently at the Kit Kat Klock in order to catch it out …

I have some weirdnesses to share with you, though, if any of you Dear Readers wants a giggle.

The yeast that created lager 600 years in ago in Bavaria has been shown to be derived from a fungus in Patagonia. It favours beech trees. How it got from Patagonia to Bavaria 600 years ago, and why anyone thought to toss it into their brewing, are questions yet unanswered. But if you are a fan of cold-brewed sour blonde beers, you can thank Saccharomyces eubayanus for the stuff.

The Washington Monument might be tilting as a result of the 5.8 quake in Virginia this morning. The police are watching it, presumably to see if it tilts right or left.

Scotland has a program releasing endangered Sea Eagles back into the wild; they are now attacking sheep, geese and a provost of Perth Cathedral. The provost would like them returned to extinction, please.

China is having a sudden plague of narcolepsy.

There. Peculiar things to ponder on this hot, muggy, slow day. I am going to emulate Kage, and go listen to music and read some Darwin. He always perks me right up.

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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15 Responses to Sometimes It’s Monday All Week

  1. Kara says:

    I don’t know about the Washington Monument, but I felt the earthquake here in Massachusetts today. It was surprisingly visceral – I felt as if myself and my desk had just turned into mounds of Jello and some god or another was giving us a nudge just to see the quiver. I stand by my preference for hurricanes. How do you stand all the earthquakes on the West Coast?


  2. Kate says:

    Kara – well, there’s nothing we can do to stop them, so a certain optimistic resignation is common. We tighten shelves, brace buildings, keep emergency supplies, etc. Mostly, though, we give thanks that earthquakes don’t come every year, on a schedule, in a predictable season! How do you stand having cyclones and tornadoes arrive every single year on the East Coast? I wouldn’t last through one storms season.


    • Kara says:

      Well, New Englanders take the attitude that at least you can see a hurricane coming. And every kid in the NE area grows up hoping a hurricane will hit just in time to delay school opening.


    • Don’t you wonder how anyone can live in a place called “Tornado Alley”? On purpose? We can go years out here without a significant earthquake in our area. There may be one out in the desert, or in Oakland, or out in the bay, but unlike blizzards and hurricanes, there is no season for them. No place is hit reliably every year. The earth is shifting all the time, but most tremors aren’t even as noticeable as a big truck rolling by..I can live with that.


  3. Margaret says:

    Another tiny weirdness – I was in the bargain store today and noticed potato chips flavored like baby-back ribs. I guess this means that potato chips are now in the same category as Bertie Botts Every-Flavor Jelly Beans or whatever those things were called – all restraint has been lost.


  4. Kate says:

    Margaret – potato chips abandoned all dignity long ago. I’ve seen chocolate-flavoured, steak and onions, salt and vinegar – and one of Kage’s favourites was dill pickle-flavoured potato chips.


    • Cupcakes have also completely lost their panties. While visiting Seattle last week I saw a cupcake cafe’s ad for their flavor of the week: Maple-Whiskey-Bacon.


      • Kate says:

        Yeah, cupcakes are nuts nowadays, Joy. Though I rather like the idea of maple-bacon-whiskey … and the image of cucpcakes losing their panties is hilarious. Especially since it’s always hard to peel those paper thingies off them! What really got me at last year’s L.A. County Fair was the cupcake booth selling “frosting shots” on the side.


  5. catharoo says:

    I hate to break it to you Dearest but it isn’t even Wednesday yet – it is still Tuesday. Sorry!


  6. Widdershins says:

    It’s Wednesday in Australia!


  7. Lisa says:

    I’m just delighted to have found another human being who actually likes fruitcake!


    • Kate says:

      I love fruitcake. Kage made a killer fruitcake, which I hope to duplicate this year – you have to start on Halloween. With a pound of mixed dried fruit and a fifth of cherry brandy.


  8. Chris says:

    I’m just catching up with my reading
    1) I think we’ve reached the ultimate chip aberation – a bag of Haggis & Pepper flavour resides in the kitchen even now.
    2) Mr. Rockwood is a fruitcake (and steamed pudding) master and is happy to consult.


  9. Kate says:

    Haggis-flavoured chips – wow. Prior to this, the weirdest I had seen were dill pickle, or hot-dog flavoured potato chips. I presume that Steven will find someone he can suborn into tasting them eventually – they deserve combat pay, when they do. Let me know, when you open them, if they also smell like haggis. It doesn’t actually taste that bad (usually) but is the worst-smelling food I’ve ever met.

    Oh, I am blissfully acquainted with Bill Rockwood’s fruit cake! Wonderful stuff.


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