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So "Holland's Finest" in San Jose informs me that they're not allowed to import chicken. It seems to me that by the time it's been ground to the consistency of toothpaste and baked with various vegetables embedded in it the chance of spreading bird flu is rather less than the chance of me sprouting long silky pearlescent blue-green wings and growing a third pair of limbs. But there it is.

My next step is to find a deli that makes it on this side, if there is such a thing. The nice fellow wants to start at the Italian deli in North Beach, but we all know it's really because he wants to get a sandwich there. I could get a case of Bitter. But I doubt that they will know anything about a Dutch breakfast sandwich meat.

I have lost three pounds since returning from Europe (a little less than a week). That actually puts me a pound lower than I was at my lowest-for-the year. What am I doing differently? Eating breakfasts like the hostel ones, basically. Sort of maybe a lowish-carbohydrate thing, over all. But not really very low. Until yesterday and today I was also walking at least a mile a day, too.

I'm a bit less than two thirds of the way through Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell. I don't know what I think about it. I'm still reading it, so I guess I like it well enough. But there are long stretches that I actively dislike, and other stretches where I wonder why she bothers with them. I suppose it all comes together in the end.

Also, the period spelling is kind of annoying, especially since I've never read a book of the era the book is pretending to be that actually seemed to use the spellings ("chuse" for "choose" mainly). And the books I've been reading can't all be infested with updated spelling because a lot of times I've read them in early editions. Or is the spelling supposedto be part of the alternate-history flavor? I don't know. I've told the nice fellow that the book is probably more for him than it is for me, but he doesn't read much fiction any more.

On another front -- I'm still struggling to enliven Afterwar. I didn't do anythig today but read amateur online fiction, most of which has the opposite problem. Actually my current favorite, which has the tremendously icky title of Once a Slave . . ., breaks every rule I've ever embraced:

¤apostrophe words
¤smeerps
¤pseudomedieval setting
¤social systems that don't make sense
¤severely mismatched tech levels
¤ridiculously powerful magic
¤historically mismatched language
¤mage lords
¤I could go on

and there are problems with the character development and plot and stuff. But. It's really wonderful anyway. It has drive and heart and color and sensation, and I could keep reading it forever and apparently I will have to because it's 133K and no end in sight.

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