1.041 coffee, FOPAL, event, SWBB

Sunday, 1/12/2020

Found a new coffee shop! I was walking toward Verve and happened to take Ramona street, where I noticed Bistro Maxine as I walked past. Hmm. Looks pleasant; lots of room inside; they have an espresso machine. So I had my morning coffee there. It was pleasant. On the plus side, they serve a small glass of orange juice which is freshly pressed (Palo Alto Cafe has fresh pressed juice but only in a big 12-ounce mug). Downside, their array of pastries is limited to regular and chocolate croissants, but they were well-made.

On return I went direct to the 11th and was delighted to find the big rolling TV was now present. I plugged it in and arranged the lectern and mics, then called George who came right up. His laptop connected perfectly. He went away to finish his presentation (“I have too many slides”) while I got my morning exercise by moving chairs around to seat about 35 people facing the screen.

I went to lunch at 12 and from there direct to FOPAL to tidy up my section again. Much lighter crowd on Sunday. Then back for a blog post and a nap, and then to the desk and added 500 words to the novel. Here’s what makes fiction so hard. You have to keep inventing stuff. My characters, who are kids, need to overhear a conversation. They have to go somewhere to hear it. Why do they go there? Think, think. OK, somebody sends them on an errand. Great, who, and what errand? OK, I decide one of the adults will send them to fetch something, from the shop down the street. Fetch what, and why do they need it? I think of the reason the thing is wanted, and now I can write three lines of dialog to get them going to the shop. That only took ten minutes. So it happens to be evening, a shop in a very small place, sort of a village. What does the shop look like? I have to say at least a couple of words. Who is tending it? What is that person’s name? Not to mention, how do they speak, what do they say. I’m inventing a whole world here, this is in a nature preserve 400 years from now. So, somewhat to my surprise, the shop is empty, but when they call out, they hear footsteps and somebody comes down the stairs at the back. Even more to my surprise, my imagination offers up an image of a young girl about their age. Go, imagination! How do kids in this world greet each other? My imagination has gone back to sleep, so I get to spend another ten minutes figuring out 5 lines of dialog to complete the transaction. Now they can finally step out of the shop and hear voices raised in argument down the way, and we are set up for them to overhear what I need them to overhear. Tomorrow I get to figure out what those words are.

George’s talk went well, except that more people came than I had put up chairs for. I and another person kept dragging chairs over and adding them to rows. (George, by the way, is a retired professor emeritus and fellow of the Hoover Institute.) Afterward, I put away all the A/V gear, then went to my room and watched the Stanford women play at Cal on the TV. Cal put on a better show at home (of course), keeping it reasonably close for a while, but Stanford took over in the fourth and won easily. Now they are off for the toughest road trip of the year: #5-ranked Stanford to play #2-ranked Oregon and #3-ranked OSU. The PAC-12 is loaded this year, with four teams in the top 10 (UCLA at #8) and ASU at #18. Actually ASU will move up and Oregon down, because Friday ASU edged Oregon. Anyway, games among three highly-ranked teams any two of which could end up in the final four.


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