It finally feels as if the process of moving has begun, even though we won’t be vacating the house until early August. But, as of Sunday evening, there are half-full boxes cropping up in this or that corner of the house: books I’m weeding out to try to sell to Normal’s, clothes I emptied from some bedroom furniture we’re selling.

Speaking of selling furniture, when you put an ad up on Craigslist you get this warning:

Please be wary of distant “buyers” responding to your ad! Many sellers receive replies from scammers hoping to defraud them through schemes involving counterfeit cashier’s checks and/or wire transfers. These checks will clear the bank, but the person cashing the check will be held responsible when the fraud is discovered…

And in response to one of of my ads, I found this in my inbox (spammish formatting preserved for effect):

How are you doing today,i hope everything is okay with you?I was browsing through the craigslist to check out some furnitures i need for my new apartment and i came across you ad for your furniture and would like to buy your it because i really need it in my apartment.
I really wish i could come down to you to look at it but unfortunately i am currently in Los angeles but moving there soon and i can do the whole transaction from here.
I would like to know is if the furniture is still good conditions for use and also if you can accept a cashier’s check for payment as that the is the only way i can have payment to you.The cashier’s check will be delivered to you via mail just fews days after it has been mailed from here by me.

You sleep nine hours, which is good, but then you miss yoga class. Oh, well. No day can be perfect. Speaking of no day being perfect, we were unexpectedly out of coffee. I don’t know why I always buy the small Chock Full o’ Nuts can; we go through them pretty quickly and it’s always catching me out. I thought I’d had another can in reserve but my bleary-eyed, fumble-fingered search couldn’t locate it. I didn’t remember opening it, but perhaps my brother had done so. The solution was clear: go to Sam’s for bagels and cups of coffee. But just as I was picking up my keys, my mother located a single-pot bag of coffee in the pantry, one of those things that comes in gourmet gift baskets and the like. We started a pot brewing, and I went to get some bagels anyway.

The shop was almost empty and the euro-techno beats were booming. There’s something that just feels right about this strange soundtrack that’s always playing in Sam’s these days. It seems to put the environment of the store outside of any anticipated frame of cultural reference, which is to say that it reminds me of listening to the radio in Germany, where you’ll hear “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” just before some traditional German folk ballad, and that strange whistle noise in between news items. The weird thing is that it seems as if the Sam’s crew is almost never not listening to “What is Love?” but, as this is an exemplar of the genre, I don’t mind in the slightest. Although I don’t think I’d want to sit down and eat to this soundtrack.

The bagels were as good as ever, but the veggie cream cheese – which they make there and package in plain, anonymous plastic containers – had the melted-plastic overtones of a fat-free product. Perhaps it had been stocked on the wrong shelf.

After breakfast, I got to work on some of my to-dos while my brother and mother drove to Fells Point for a 10,000 Villages visit and coffee on Bond Street Wharf. They report that the effects of last week’s “brown tide” – i.e., thousands of dead fish rotting in the water – have almost completely dissipated. Meanwhile I spent some time nosing around on line, looking for ideas for my online portfolio. This is turning out to be harder than I expected. Maybe my standards are too high, but I’m not very impressed by the portfolio sites I’ve come across so far. They seem so lackluster and halfhearted. And one thing that searches involving the words “writer” and “portfolio” gets you are all of the thousands of scam artists out there looking to hook would-be writers into group web sites where, allegedly, “employers come to you,” and “we prepare you a professional portfolio page on our site” – oh, and it only costs you a little. Writers can be a fairly pathetic bunch, I guess.

No one will ever go broke selling “opportunity” to people who want to be writers.