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7th of January, 2004 POST·MERIDIEM 02:40

“Riella 40” is the label on the part of our house’s heating system that is attached to the oil-fired central heating, and putting it back into commission after leaving it run out of diesel is surprisingly easy. Uhh, you will  need to get the tank filled back up with diesel. Unscrew the two pipes that come out from the bottom of the until the hiss of air coming out of the system dies off—it’ll be replaced by diesel oil (bear this in mind while dressing for the occasion). Tighten them again. Turn the system on, press the piece of plastic that looks like the cover for a pilot light, and, unless you’ve done something stupid I haven’t mentioned here, you’re all set. NB; I wouldn’t even like to be an amateur at this, let alone someone you should take advice from.

July, July,  Tim O’Brien. I remember pointing I. towards a page[1] that makes the case for the Terminator being a better love story than the English Patient, because it had made a big impression on me when I first read it. She countered that imperfections in the characters of the English Patient render the story more realistic, they make it something that people find easier to identify with. Which is exactly the argument the original page needed. This is probably a corollary to something Helena was talking about the other day, about the way people should miss the bad stuff as well as the good stuff in revenge movies real.

Yes, the above was a roundabout way of saying that this book reads real. People hung up on the stupidest things, people holding flames for each other across three decades and after interminable rejections, people doing stupid things and totally losing perspective on it ... I didn’t think I’d be into the lives of fiftysomething Minnesotans, but I was. Wow.

[1] Bollox, it’s not around any more. It was at http://​www.​concentric.​net/​~Scrubber/​cameron/​love.​htm , once upon a time.

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