November 28, 2020:

The tiny snap of a single cap is dissatisfying. Snap-snap: hardly different to the little tin hammer clicking with no caps loaded. Much more agreeable is to lay an entire roll on the sidewalk and slam it with a real hammer. BAM! Perhaps that's even as loud as a real gun, and it leaves the gratifying aftersmell of burnt gunpowder.

Summer sounds like sprinklers and smells of wet grass. Sprinklers are not automatic: Mexican gardeners turn them on with a long iron tool with two prongs at the end. The prongs grip cross-shaped spigots which control flow through different sections of lawn all around multiple blocks of apartments. I've learned that I can do the same with pliers. When it's hot and we want a treat, I run the sprinklers on one particular corner where the lawn is uncharacteristically flat, or in the long rectangular sections between rows of buildings. We kids run through them to cool off, squealing and shouting. I'm always careful to turn them off after a few minutes. We live in the desert, after all. No reason to waste water.

"He has the eyes of a hawk!!" That's clearly untrue, as my thick glasses testify. Rather that the hiding place is obvious, and I've blasted him with my toy M-16 before he can ambush us, literally from inside a large fern where he's tried to hide. I'm laughing because "am-bush". I am though the only one who finds the pun amusing.

Craig, my friend, owns a pair of walkie-talkies. We use them to coordinate all the time: hide-and-seek, kick-the-can, army, bike chase. In retrospect that seems kindof unfair, but I remember no complaints. We are Craig and Mark, we make the rules.

Those radios have three channels, and a beeper. Sometimes we sit with them at the lip of the canyon, talking with ham radio operators, wondering how many miles from us they must be, somewhere out there in Kearny Mesa, maybe even as far as Grossmont. We can see perhaps twenty miles to the hills which block the eastern horizon; do radio signals travel that far on just nine volts?