Monday, April 25, 2011

The Two Sides of Cows

We went to the Wal-Mart Supercenter on Carl Boyer Drive fairly late last night. Considering that we don't usually go out on Sundays past 8 p.m. since Dad and Meridith have work the next day, this was fairly late. But we still had things to get that we didn't cover on Saturday.

They're completely remodeling this Wal-Mart. Sections are being squished together, being moved, and in some cases, you can't find them unless you circle the entire store thinking that you might have missed what you were looking for, and lo and behold, there it is, near whatever that section used to be. This also makes for a shoe department that no longer looks like a department, but rather just a section of shelves with less brands than there were, at least until they figure out where they're putting everything in this conundrum of space. There's sheets of paper taped to shelves with blue tape from department heads (or maybe corporate department heads), indicating where everything should go, what kids' styles are being replaced in favor of ones that may sell better, and how the shelves should be stocked. It's going to be a while before this even looks like it once did, at least in actually having shoes.

These days, I don't wear my velcro shoes that often. They get the most use on the weekends, so they don't wear out as quickly as they used to. But even if I was looking for a pair, it would be hard to find here. Mom found one box that had two left sneakers in it and it took a box or two more to find an actual pair.

But that wasn't what compelled me to write all of this. There's a set of racks where leather shoes hang. If you walk swiftly past it, you get an overpowering smell of leather. It almost makes you gag as your knees buckle. It's like finding discounted Easter candy, but far less pleasant. Come to think of it, what this Wal-Mart and the one on Kelly Johnson Parkway (overlooking Six Flags Magic Mountain) had in leftover Easter candy wasn't all that pleasant anyway, not for me. I wanted more Cadbury eggs (stop your snickering; I figured there might be no chance in finding any more, but I still wanted to look) and Reese's candy eggs, the ones in those pastel candy shells with the fully peanut butter center. Nothing. Just Starburst Easter candies that shouldn't have even been there. I understand the fervent desire of candy companies to profit off of Jesus's resurrection as a perpetually horny egg stasher, but some candies don't go with Easter. If you're not Cadbury, strike one, and you're on a very short leash, so you'd better prove yourself quickly. Starburst already eliminates itself by those standards.

Anyway, back to the hanging leather. It fascinates me how that smell isn't at all one to want to encounter again, yet if you walk past a set of grills giving proper tribute to hamburgers and steaks, you've got heaven coming on a plate soon.

Bless the cow for being able to multitask so skillfully.

Damn You, Bourne! (Actually, no. You've already been damned enough.)

All the CIA intrigue in the movies The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy (I plan to rewatch The Bourne Ultimatum for the 54,892nd time next weekend) has got me on a suspense novel kick that includes the first three novels John LeCarre wrote (to see if I want to read any more beyond those), as well as many books about those who were in the CIA, such as Robert Baer, whose latest book, with his wife Dayna, is The Company We Keep: A Husband-and-Wife True-Life Spy Story, about how they met while serving in the CIA. I bought it from Amazon about two months ago, but hadn't gotten to it until last night, and it's so vivid in the telling.

Despite enjoying Laura Lippman's Tess Monaghan series so far, I've found that I read that more for the characters involved than the mystery at hand. In fact, I think that's why I'm keen on those CIA books, because the stakes are already established, and they get higher and higher, and that's where the pleasure is. Plus, the details revealed are always fascinating. It's also why I've begun reading Joseph Finder's works. He knows how to work the levers of a thriller to their maximum breaking point.

A life in books never loses its sense of discovery, and always delivers a steady supply of interesting titles.