transcribed via electronic post, and etched here for future reference by any who care to view. Last of June, Twenty and Aught-two.

Dear Journal… Magonia is no longer a place for my dispatches shall rise from, save for the occasional visit to a kiosk at the Necropoliptic market, should I need to visit. I do not foresee several travels there, if any at all.

Indeed, as of the end of this week, my person, belongings, and hangers-on have instead tarried to a new village many footfalls to the South; similar but not identical to my previous domain, this new place also has a wine-dark sea beneath a boiling orange sunset come the change from day to night. It also has many travelers upon man-made water roads, journeying at all hours of day and night, some in the form of taxis, others bearing cargo between assorted ports, and the bulk being personal pleasure and business-craft.

This transfer of location occurred quickly, nary a score’s day notification before it came to my attention that the former landowner sold his boarding-house to a new proprietor. This fresh creature, crab-faced and beetle-browed, displayed to me (in no uncertain terms) a wish for a far higher monthly tithe for the same space my bed occupied for nearly a year prior. I balked not so much at the increase in cost but more at the style by which this mannerless boor sought to bring things about. Being interrupted at all hours, being uprooted and awakened for no reason save for a complete
lack of courtesy and good neighborliness all in a matter of a week was cause enough to start investigations of another habitat for me and mine.

As a matter of coincidence, during a visit with my only blood sibling, I had the singular good fortune to discover that his region was fertile with locations to pitch one’s tent. In fact, a space was available just two doors down from him. Slightly smaller than the place previous, the floor plan is more open, and still quite a bit bigger than the place I was leasing from the noseless gunman a year ago. My only other immediate neighbor is a young girl from the Far east… one of the large island nations, I believe. I’ve not met her yet, but I’m told that she is quiet and unobtrusive… my preference for the one who shares a wall with me.

Regarding the building itself, it has been there since before my father’s birth, and possibly since his father’s youth. That it has remained standing with little interior change all this time is a testament to the durability of its structure and placement. There are many old trees surrounding the place, serving a multiple purpose as landscape, privacy and scout-housing for a local raccoon. I wonder at what lives might’ve been lived there before my arrival… I know of a few recent ones, but those are tales for another time. Suffice to say that there has certainly been a good deal of life lived inside those walls.

I wonder at what sleeping there that first night will be like, making that place my own, shaping it to my design. Soon, with the arrival of furniture, new traffic patterns will emerge. There will be places I prefer to think and read, warm spots where life of one sort of another will linger on, cool spots where perhaps no being may tread for a year or more. More personal scents will rise from the rooms… the days’ toil swept off by fragrant steam, cooking food, and some of the burning oils and herbs whose perfumes that I’m partial to for use in meditation. I feel that little time will be required to make my footprint the prevailing one.

I’ve barely commenced a personal cartography of the area… a large yellow foolscap, upon which I will draw my movements and discoveries when I return home from whatever adventure the day has brought. It is a simple thing, at the moment… a nearly blank slate, but I look forward to a ramble along the canals and parks. I suspect that my first tracings on the map will be travels to the canals mentioned earlier, and the village tradesmen along them. I hear of an excellent supplier of rare books there, and I wish to see what the local merchants have to offer. I’m not one for frequenting taverns,
but perhaps a sampling of the local brews will give me an idea of how the populace might view a newcomer like myself, too. On my many visits, it’s seemed a friendly enough place, so I don’t have any misgivings about being a stranger in a strange land. I wonder how many places that there will be to sit and call for a pint or a dram, perhaps play cards or discuss the topics of the day.

Much discovery is ahead of me.

I got my phone, DSL and power switched over without a hitch… I have a new phone number now, because I located to a different exchange…but it’s a simple one to remember and it’s a nice pattern on the keypad. I have to get change of address forms at the post office tomorrow morning, and phase two will be complete. All that’ll remain is getting my stuff moved, and my security deposit back.

Breakfast with Danny tomorrow morning… I’ll get to hear how the wedding went today, and if he suffered through dancing or stood up to peer pressure and told them about his torn ligament. I hope he made a point of being strong, and abstained from hurting himself. I think we’ll hit Mack’s Groves, just because I won’t be visiting there unless I have business in the region from now on. I think that the new place will probably be the Floridian diner or one of the little places on Los Olas… or we’ll hit the Starlight Diner, because it’s close to where I work.

I gave him Kathy Wu’s phone number… I wonder if they’ll communicate much? I suspect not, just because Danny’s schedule is so hectic with what’s going on between his dad, his leg, summer classes, and assorted whatnot.

His Dad is released today from the hospital.. it sounds like he’s on the mend nicely from his Whipple Procedure.

Kevin is back from the doctor today… He’s been prescribed “Stress pills”… he says that he’s not been consciously feeling it, but the body certainly has been roughing him up.

I’d been hoping to have the 5th off as well as the 4th, but it looks like that might not happen. Perhaps a half-day, because things will be slow. I’ll be happy if I can get home by 6, instead of 9.

Anyone who wants my new snail mail address can email me (or reply here) and I’ll send it to you.

off to work a trifle early, just to get al my ducks in a row with utilities.

until later, dear journal!

The Poison Is Arsenic, and the Suspect Wood… the things you find researching peg legs.

Huh huh. Huh huh. You said ‘wood’.


“HERNANDO, Miss., June 19 – It took six hospitalizations and a number of misdiagnoses before Lynn Milam learned what was causing the vomiting and diarrhea that almost killed her in 1999. The arsenic levels in her body, her doctor said, were about 100 times what they should have been.

Ms. Milam was relieved to have a diagnosis, however terrifying. That relief vanished when the police arrived. “They said someone was trying to kill me, and they were almost 100 percent sure it was Tom,” her husband, Ms. Milam said.

But she refused to believe it. “I know the man,” she said. “If he were going to kill me, he’d just shoot me.””

Well, it turns out that after testing the husband that he had even more arsenic in his system than she did. They had been doing some home improvements with treated wood.

“Vicki S. Wood, one of the Milams’ lawyers, said the couple were victims of chromated copper arsenate, or C.C.A., the predominant wood preservative in the United States and the subject of an emerging body of product liability lawsuits around the country. Some of the lumber for the Milams’ two-story cabin frame had been treated with C.C.A., which prevents decay and repels termites. It also contains arsenic.”

There is a whole lovely story about product liability and industry and so on and so forth. You know the drill. The industry sort of crossed the Ts and dotted the Is by putting the responsibility for handing out the warnings on the lumberyards, but:

“Mel Pine, a spokesman for the trade association, said that the industry had fulfilled its obligation to inform the public about the dangers of treated wood but that until recently, “at the retail stores the compliance was less than perfect.””

Been there, seen that every few months. The product is being phased-out with a replacement that doesn’t include arsenic.

“Mr. Brugge said the decision was based on “changes in perception, changes in the marketplace” and a new generation of preservatives without arsenic.”

(How much do you want to bet that the “new generation” of preservatives were around before, but were not as cheap as arsenic?)

No, what is interesting about the story is that attempted murder was suspected and a case was being prepared.

“The police here worked the case hard. They questioned the Milams repeatedly and always separately. They advised Ms. Milam, a 50-year-old computer programmer, to leave her husband, 46, or at least prepare her own food. They sought help from the F.B.I., and the district attorney went to a grand jury to have it consider a charge of attempted murder.

I felt like the Hernando Police Department came into it predetermined like it was attempted murder, and they had a pretty good little case,” Ms. Milam said. “It was really big for them.”

“Mr. Artis, the F.B.I. spokesman, said the case was dubious from the start, because it lacked a motive. “She was the breadwinner,” he said. “There’s no big insurance policy. There’s no girlfriend.””

So, without any of the tried-and-true motives present, why did the D.A. continue with the attempted murder scenario?

“He recalled being convinced by an F.B.I. analysis implicating the treated wood. On the other hand, a member of his staff had consulted the industry. “One of my investigators kept telling me that lumber companies had told him that this couldn’t be,” he said, meaning that the F.B.I. was wrong.”

Who says experts don’t lie? Calling for an unbiased opinion these days is more tricky than ever, I imagine.

Perhaps I’ve read far too many Agatha Christie mystery novels as a kid, but I need to research and see if it is true that ingesting small doses of arsenic over time lead to an immunity from the poison. This came up in a few novels I recall reading (Lord Nannybone of Soddom-on-Gamhora takes small doses of arsenic to build up an immunity, then he and his wife eat from the same hors de vour tray… intrepid detective outwits police by finding arsenic bottle under bush, etc. etc.).

The article makes me think no, but perhaps those dosages were too large… I was also under the impression that repeated arsenic ingestion leads to thickening nails, change in skin tone and other symptoms. Perhaps skin absorption is different.

I guess that the real problem is that they had not received any of the warnings that were supposed to go with purchasing the treated wood. I suppose big red and yellow stickers saying “DANGER. TOXIC WOOD!!!!” would have made for a lousy store display. I know that I would tend to promote the termite repelling qualities and downplay the HAZMAT aspects of putting in a new deck.