At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Sunday, September 29, 2013


Stayed the entire day in Marin in close proximity to cigar smokers. Which, if you think about it, can be quite edumacational. Put a bunch of men together with cheroots and a ball game, and much childish good-cheer will be had, many 'F-bombs' will be dropped, other rancid locutions will crop up like weeds, and somebody will inevitably mention pizza.

I am not a cigar smoker particularly, and the ball game on teevee leaves me apathetic. When I described it as "men in tights", one of them vociferated that "it's so much MORE than that!"

Okay, men in SHINY tights.
Big! shiny! men.

I spent the afternoon restoring pipes. Two in particular stand out, namely a mediocre meerschaum which now looks semi-smokeable again, and a Sasieni one-dot smooth prince. One-dots were made in the early nineteen-twenties, before the company switched to four dots as the stem trademark. This particular one was in excellent shape underneath the tarry rim-buildup and thick carbon cake inside. It's a rather beautiful piece. And so much more fun to play with than a barrel of cigar-smokers.
Even if they have started discussing pizza.
And the game is finally over.

[Sasieni restoration: drop of beeswax onto the dot, to shield it from the bleach into which the stem was placed (bleach brings all the oxidation to the surface of the carbon rubber). Used the three-sided blade to pare off the tar on the rim, then reamed the pipe down to the first layer of blackness inside. Wiped both rim and inside with vodka, removed the last of the tar. Did not do the salt-cure; whoever ends up buying it either won't mind or will do it themselves. Dried stem after rinsing away the bleach, ran bristles through it to smooth-out the traces of oxidation and bleach that would make the draw-hole rough inside. Fitted the two parts back together, inserted a pipe cleaner all the way through to the bowl and let it sit for half an hour with vodka in the bowl to dissolve some of the burnt-in sap. Then used bristlies till they came out clean, wiped the inside of the bowl, and buffed the pipe with red compound heavy and light on the stem, a light touch on the wood. White compound to finish. My back is killing me.
Brian had described the pipe this morning as "well-loved"...... which usually means crapped-up to a fare-thee-well. I was, consequently, quite apprehensive about what I would find, till I started cleaning it. It's a remarkable piece.]

Given a choice between big bouncy jocks in fetching tights running around with pigskins crashing into each other, OR red and white buffing compounds plus beeswax, I have no doubt that rational men would choose the latter.

Rational women too.

Wouldn't anybody?

No, I have no idea how the pizza-discussion went.
I doubt that they solved the pizza problem.
Whatever the problem with pizza is.
They did not order any.
Just as well.

Only smoked three bowls today. Time at the buffing wheel tends to make me forget to light up. The pull of the spinning cotton on the wood and the finger-tip attention focus the mind narrowly and hypnotically. Even with a pipe in my mouth at such times, the conscious rhythm is dominated by abrasion and centrifugal pressure. The digits feel tinglingly alive.

On the other hand, I've had sheer tonnes of caffeine. Two cups of bitter coffee to start the day, five cups of tea while dealing with pipes, a final double-bagger (black, jasmine) before heading back to San Francisco.

I'm drinking a strong yin-yeung (鴛鴦) right now.

Quite possibly I am wired to the eye-brows.

Have been since seven this morning.

I can't get pizza out of my head.

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All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


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