I Need A Speed Charger

Kage Baker bewailed the necessity of re-charging one’s batteries as one grew older. She felt it was vastly unfair – as one grew older and wiser and more adept at finding the fun things to do, one also grew more perpetually tired and in need of rest. She considered it a very poor energy plan.

In our 20’s, and even into our 30’s, we could go through a weekend of working a Renaissance Faire – which ran from Friday afternoon to Sunday night, often without sleep – and still report for work on Monday. With access to an efficient water heater, we could go straight from one to the other with never a pause – as long as we had time to shower and change into more normal clothes. And we did.

Alas, such fortitude does not last! When our schedules added in Cons between Faires, it got increasingly difficult to keep up with ourselves. Kage happily gave up her day job eventually, because it was easier to make her bread by writing – including simple logistics like, “How far do I have to go to fall into a bed?” and “I can stay here and write while wearing pajamas, or I can get tarted up and go to the office: for the same amount of money.” The logical course was, of course, to stay home and write. It was easier to survive, too.

I am now years older than Kage ever was.  (An idea that makes my head feel like it’s imploding.)  I am at that awkward age where you’re trying to figure out how to balance the capabilities of your crumbling body with the needs of your ever-busier mind. And it seems that my mind is running on a straight eight with double carburetors, while my body has regressed to a 1-stroke lawnmower engine. And is seriously considering a downgrade to AAA batteries.

My weekend at at BayCon was a delight. My drive home Monday was also a delight, at least until I hit Buttonwillow. That’s where the traffic to Los Angeles began to clot like stale blood, reducing my swift run homeward to a deathly crawl for the last 88 miles. At the crest of the Grapevine, the road was being intermittently obscured by walls of dust and ash blowing off the most recent brush fire. And I returned to a Los Angeles Basin flirting with triple digit heat.

On Tuesday, my stalwart PT Cruiser abruptly decided it no longer would use a Reverse gear. I drive an old-fashioned stick tranny, and there is no confusion or doubt when you lose a gear on one of those: the shift just does not go. I had to call several places before I found one with a mechanic who even knew how to work on a manual. On the way in to the shop, my rear view mirror fell off the windshield. And so far, I am looking at over a grand to get it repaired – which is not a problem, and I can do it, but it does mean some fanciful plans for later in the month will have to be scrapped …

And it’s too hot. Too hot in the day for me to venture out except at early morn or in the gloaming; too hot at night to sleep deeply. So my energies are re-charging even more slowly than usual.

And we’re on fire, of course. The Powerhouse Fire up near Castaic has consumed 20,000 + acres; when the wind is right, the smoke plumes east right into the Basin, and the evenings look like an October with busy chimneys. Smaller fires break out every few hours beside the freeways, and are all (so far) duly stamped out. But it does indicate that Angelinos have once more given in to the short term memory loss that leads them to throw cigarette butts out their car windows …

At least the humidity is high: 58% where I am right now. It makes for misery here at my computer, but it helps the lads and lasses out in Castaic. There is even a chance of drizzle the next few days – which is insane and unnatural, but if it helps with the fires, I’ll be glad to sweat.

What this all means,  Dear Readers, is that – aside from this peevish litany of petty woes – I’ve accomplished squat the last few days. Though I did read World War Z finally, and tried out all the new flavours of Magnum ice cream bars. The new Golden ones are especially nice … I’m too tired and hot and cranky to write. Hell, I’m almost to tired and cranky to read, which may just mean the End Times are upon us.

Who knows? I may be keeping the space-time continuum from unravelling by clinging to this blog – and you are all helping by reading it. Be stalwart, Brave  Hearts!

The fate of the Universe may be in our hands. Our tired, sweaty, ice-cream-sticky hands …

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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10 Responses to I Need A Speed Charger

  1. johnbrownson says:

    “Buttonwillow- Where it’s at!” (Button from the late 70’s, which I still have, unless I gave it to you.)

    Like

    • Kate says:

      No, that gem must still be in your possession. And it’s still true, you know – there’s nothing for miles in any direction that has as much as Buttonwillow. The truck stop is still chock full of handy and bizarre goodies, there’s still at least one taco coach parked on the verge, and while the Orange Julius is gone, there is now a Starbucks. Which is drive-through, too! And if their coffee is only Starbucks, their snack foods are divine: real fruit, cheese, fascinating pastries … and the cleanest bathroom in Buttonwillow.

      Remember those horrible toilets behind the Orange Julius? I used to hope the ghastly neon orange paint job was irradiating the cockroaches to death …

      Like

  2. kathy allen says:

    Those Magnums, especially the Gold ones…oh, my word! Sprinkle water over your house so the soot doesn’t catch, and hang in there till the June gloom comes back!

    Like

  3. Allison says:

    That drive up the 5 truly is bizarre. Once you clear the Tejon Pass, the smell of burning breaks, and careening trucks it is supposed to be boring. It is not. I’ve read your blogs about it with smacking satisfaction. Therw is no end to the weirdness and the creative roadkill. Have you commented before about the occasional grove of trees that vannish ans then reappear on subsequent trips? Also, the best rockstar sightings on the planet are in the parking lot of Pea Soup Andersen’s in Santa Nella. If it’s still there, The last time I drove by there was in 2005, and it seemed to have vanished…Perhaps some sneaky little grove of trees hid it away.

    Like

    • Kate says:

      Appearing and disappearing stands of trees? Yeah, you get a lot of those on I-5. Transmogrifications, too – wild trees into orchards, and vice versa … the fields there are definitely Not The Fields We Know. However, Pea Soup Anderson’s is still open at Santa Nella, and as busy as ever. Good food and weird candy.

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  4. Miz Kizzle says:

    Too hot and cranky to read? That’s serious. Have you read Joyland, Stephen King’s latest? Have you tried getting someone to drop ice cubes down your back when you least expect it? It’s remarkably cooling and energizing.

    Like

    • Kate says:

      As a matter of fact, I just got Joyland this very morning! And am settling down to begin it soon – it’s a lovely trashy-looking paperback. And we’ve got a sudden on-shore breeze coming in today, which is giving us some overcast and much cooler temperatures. It’s bliss.

      Of course, we’re still on fire here and there. Oh, and there was a bear found in a golf course in Granada Hills this morning. And that is out in the San Fernando Valley! The wildlife has evidently given up waiting for us to leave, and is just moving into Los Angeles as it will.

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  5. Chris says:

    Did the drive north on the 28th. 4 flat as flat can be coyotes on the side of the road, have never seen more than 3 before. Have taken to cutting through to Gilroy to then connect to the 280 into the city, thereby missing Pea Soup Anderson’s. May have to add it back to the next trip – miss the wierd candy.

    Like

    • Kate says:

      Yeah, Chris – that crossover on the 152 takes you west just before he exotic delights on Santa Nella. On the other hand, you do get to go through Casa de Fruita, where there yet more weird candies and dried fruit. Do they still keep buffalo there?

      Kathleen kbco.wordpress.com

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