Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sweltering in Seattle

Temperatures have been in the 90's the past few days, and will probably not drop significantly until Friday. The bookstore was bustling last night. I think the air conditioning brought people out, and was an opportunity to fill some summer reading lists. It wasn't as cool in the bookstore as I would have wished, but all I had to do was walk outside into the wall of heat and humidity to appreciate the environment I was in.

My in-laws are in town. I will probably be meeting up with the Kissinger crew in the next couple of days for lunch, and fulfilling social duties. Meanwhile, I have some evenings at my place to enjoy the comforts of home before heading back to parenting duties on Friday night. I already miss Justin and hope that I see him tomorrow for lunch at Jalisco's.

Friday, July 24, 2009


I'm feeling blah this morning, and I can't think of a specific reason why. There are many little minor itches that, added up together, could reveal themselves to be a major physic wound. I'm still in the midst of my "summer of transitions," so I shouldn't be surprised when the road gets a bit bumpy. The reality is that things are going well. I'm fitting right back into the bookstore quite easily. I've already run into a half-dozen customers or so, that remember me from my previous stint at the bookstore. Today is Friday, and now I actually have Saturday and Sunday off, so that's a pleasant change from before. I will be taking Justin to soccer class in the morning, and I've no doubt that we'll probably end up at Red Robin for lunch. Jen and Justin are going to a baseball game on Sunday afternoon, so that will leave me free for most of that day. I had some plans that have now been scuttled, but that will leave me time to clean house, see a matinee, and generally relax with a book for the remainder of that day.

In the meantime, I think I'll head over to the house to visit with Justin for a bit, before work. After being a stay-at-home dad for three years, I tend to miss the little guy when I haven't seen him for a few days. He brings such light into my life, and who doesn't need that?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Permanent Ink

Why do people get tattoos? Once upon a time only servicemen, prisoners and bikers had tattoos. I have three myself, from my days in the Air Force. They are not military related, just images I picked on a whim...and while sober. Now -- thanks to those adolescent whims -- I have Yosemite Sam emblazoned upon my forearm. I nearly accepted a job from Regal Cinemas in the spring, but they require folks with tattoos on their arms to wear long sleeve shirts. That wasn't the reason I declined the job, but it may have been a minor factor. Now I see old ladies with garish tattoos on their plump calves, and I realize that I'm just another aging veteran, who had some free time on their hands and decided to take a Friday night trip to the tattoo parlor. I will say that my sister, who is a year younger than me, was the first one in the family to get a tattoo. If I remember correctly...I think she has a rose on her shoulder. I believe it's mandatory for a biker's old lady to have tattoos. So, in tribute to adolescent whims, and the effect of the aging process on tattoos...a little Home Movies.

Sunshine Dreams

It's not that I hate my job already, but on sunny Seattle days like today I want nothing more than to be lounging outside somewhere, reading a good book. That is paradise to me. Instead I will do my duty by selling books, so that others may enjoy that precious Seattle sunshine.

I'm realizing that when I arise at 11 a.m. I'm not left with much free time before work. I've had time to clean the kitchen, and run the clothes washer, but as far as having the time to read the last thirty pages of Erase...nope, not enough time for leisure activities like that.

After work I'll have the pleasure of returning to my own abode, instead of driving to Jen's house to relieve the babysitter. Lately, there have been times at night when I open my eyes in the dark, wondering whether I'm at my apartment, or in the guest bed at the house. It takes me a few minutes, listening for sounds of Justin, or wondering whether Jen is sleeping off her work night upstairs before I can get my inner GPS working and figure out where I am.

Monday, July 20, 2009

In the Queue

This is the movie that I want to see next. The trailer looks good. Ebert gave it four stars. It just might be worth the price of admission.

Monday Also Means...

Monday also means that it's been a week since I last made a blog entry. What's up with that? I thought I had a renewed intention to blog more regularly? Oh well. Sometimes life gets in the way of trivial tasks like updating a blog. I had good intentions when I planned to see a movie yesterday, but I ended up postponing those plans. I am quite looking forward to seeing "(500) Days of Summer," but it just opened last Friday, so I'm confident that it will be playing for at least a few more weeks. Maybe I can muster the energy to go this coming Sunday. Yesterday, by the time Justin laid down for his nap at 1 pm, I was already feeling like I needed a nice long nap. Instead I was able to spend the evening with someone, who is very important to me, and I even got a fine home-cooked meal out of the deal.

I'll be heading out to work shortly, stopping on the way to deposit my very first paycheck. Ooo, that's so exciting! Meanwhile I've been catching up on laundry, and washing dishes left over from last night's dinner. I'll be heading over to the house after work to care for Justin. The rumor is that my wife will be getting out of work at 2 am, and my plan is to come back to my apartment at that time. It'll be much easier to sleep in here at "home," then to wake up at the crack of dawn with Justin.

I'm about halfway through the novel Erased by Jim Krusoe. My intention is to write a staff pick for the title once I am through, but now I just need to carve out some time to finish it. Next week Jen's parents are in town. That means that I'll be doing a little less parenting, since they'll be on grandparent duty for that week. I'm sure I'll meet up with them at some point, most likely for a lunch at Jalisco's.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday Means Work

I'll be heading into work in just an hour or so. I enjoyed sleeping in until about 9:30 this morning sans guilt. Since then I have been lounging about, checking news online and reading Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg. I'm enjoying the Silverberg book. I've previously read about a half dozen of his novels. Dying Inside was recently republished with cover blurbs by Michael Chabon and Jonathan Lethem. It's an interesting novel about a telepath, who seems to be losing his natural ability as he lurches into his 40's. An interesting take on all artists (and human beings in general) losing a step or two as they inevitably age. My only quibble is that sometimes the book seems little dated, having been written in the early 1970's. A little too many ethnic stereotypes, and objectification of women, but that could be written off as traits of the character rather than the author.

I'm determined to eat lunch at home today, since I've been eating out way too much lately and the practice is quickly draining my funds. Those funds could better be used buying books with my employee discount. I do think that I'll end up eating dinner at the Vios resturaunt, which is connected to the bookstore. I get 50% off there! Plus I need to taste-test their orzo salad.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Peek Into the Past

I just spent about 45 minutes rereading some of my writings stored in my computer. The entries were anywhere between five and twelve years old. Some was straight fiction, and others were biographical in nature. All of it was in the "sad but true" mold. Memories I had dug up from the recesses of my mind, and laid out on paper to revisit, like picking at an old wound. It's always good to go back and read my stuff, because inevitably I end up thinking "Hey, this isn't bad." And believe me...I'm my own worst critic. Once I get some distance from the material I can better judge it's quality. Whenever I allow friends and acquaintances to read my writings they usually apply some compliment such as "you're a great writer," but I'm humble and enjoy nothing more than trying to crush my own ego beneath my size 10 ½ foot. I feel that it's my moral duty to be modest and unassuming. It keeps me reaching for greater things.

I spent the day with my son Justin. He's such a wonderful child, and full of life and curiosity. His mind is wide open, and if I could do anything as a parent it would be to enable him to maintain that demeanor for the rest of his life. First I need to teach him to be kind to bugs...all insects, including spiders. He's getting better at this. Lately he has taken to placing ants upon himself and his father...just for kicks. Just so he can exclaim, "Look guys! I have bugs on my shirt!" Those are my proud moments.

After arising at 6:30 this morning, and driving over to the house to care for Justin, I am truly looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow morning. Now that I work from 2 pm until 10:30 pm I've given myself permission to sleep in much later. Sometimes as late as ten in the morning. (Gasp!) I'm looking forward to ordering a few books this week, including the last three volumes of Frederick Copleston's History of Philosophy. I've slowly bought the volumes in order over the years, and with the last three I will have the complete nine volume set. Some people gain pleasure from fast cars, or expensive cigars. Me? A complete nine-volume history of philosophy will give me shivers of pleasure.

Right now I'm in the midst of doing something I've been putting off for a while, and that's restoring my iPod. I've been putting it off, because it entails erasing everything from the unit and having to reload it all from my PC. Lately my iPod - which I've dubbed eXistenZ, has taken to pausing during playback, sometimes every few seconds. Last night I was ready to throw it against the wall, but instead I decided to try this last ditch effort at setting it straight. The only problem is that it takes a long time to reload over 12,000 songs, and I like to lay in bed at night, listening to music. I'm still waiting....waiting...waiting.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

While I'm Thinking of It...

Here is some soul soothing music as we swing into early Thursday morning. Goodnight Y'all.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Inner Angst

I've promised myself that I would blog more often, so here I am two minutes away from midnight on a school night, with my stamina quickly ebbing away. I will do my best to string a few sentences together before retiring to my tiny bedroom to listen to something loud and soothing on my iPod. For the past couple of days I have been in a Beastie Boys mood. There are probably quite a few acquaintances that would be surprised that I listen to the Beastie Boys, but hell, the Beastie Boys are old hat these days. Something about these raunchy New Yorkers appeals to my inner punk. (Yes, I have an inner Punk, along with an inner redneck that covets pick-up trucks, and owns a few guns.) When my inner angst starts to rise to the breaking point, I usually turn to loud music to soothe myself. In the old days I would pull out my sketch book and draw for a few hours. These days I sometimes keep a journal, but nothing calms my shaky soul like some loud punks screaming for emotional release. Don't knock it 'till you've tried it.

Today was a full day, but in no way stressful. I was running a little low on energy due to the fact that I was awake until about two in the morning. I was awoken at seven this morning by a visitor from my dreams. Later on I attended a Mariners game, but left before they blew the lead in the ninth inning. This evening I got some laundry done, and watched an episode of the Rockford Files. I also got about 50 pages into the novel Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg. I haven't read anything by him in years, and this particular novel was republished earlier this year with cover blurbs by Michael Chabon and Jonathan Lethem. You can't go wrong with praise from the likes of them. The novel is about a man in his early 40's who is starting to lose his telepathic abilities. It seems to be part of the aging process along with thinning hair. Now that I'm back working in a bookstore, everything I read will be considered for possible nomination as a staff pick. I'm also in charge of the sci-fi and horror sections (along with religion, philosophy, science, mythology...), so I'm sure I'll be reading more science fiction in the near future...but only the good stuff.

It feels good to be back at work, but this week is will also be a little weird for my son until we figure out some babysitting options. My wife ended up bringing him to work with her on Monday evening, and I drove to Kirkland to pick him up at about 10:30 pm. I hate to mess with his schedule, but things will settle down soon and he's pretty durable.

I'd better sign off before I start writing gibberish, or ranting about celebrities and hypocritical politicians.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Summer of Transitions

The summer of transitions: divorce, new relationship, and now...a new job. The term "new job" is almost a misnomer, since I was in the original cast of employees when Ravenna Third Place first opened their doors. I worked there for some years before leaving to enter into the wonderful world of fatherhood. Major changes started to occur both internally and externally when I was "fired" from my full-time position as stay-at-home dad last fall. I was immediately pressed into finding a full-time paying job during one of the most trying economic times in our country since the Great Depression. My significant other wasn't hearing any excuses for my lack of employment opportunities, so soon we were living apart. Somehow I always had a feeling (and hope) that I would end up back in one of the bookstores, where I had always had a good track record. In bookstores there is always a changing of the guard, as people go back to school, or find higher paying jobs. I felt that it was just a matter of time before I could wend my way back into their doors. So today at 2 pm I will be once again behind the counter at Ravenna Third Place books. The evening shifts will throw a little monkey wrench into the schedule that my wife and I had worked out, as far as Justin's care goes, but maybe she should have remembered that well-worn phrase "be careful what you wish for..." last year when a somewhat bigger monkey wrench was inserted into my daily existence.

I usually wake up with some song ringing in my head, and this morning was no different. On Friday the song was "Spiders and Snakes" by Jim Stafford, most likely brought about by my new partner's aversion to the arachnid species. (Anyone who knows me well knows that I have affinity for spiders. I even have one permanently inked upon my back.) Yesterday the song of the day was "Secret Lovers" by Atlantic Starr, and I won't go into the reasons for why that song may have been in my head yesterday. And believe me, I had to look up the group that made that song popular. It appears that my capacity for trivia is not without it's glitches. Today, appropriately enough, the song in my head this morning was Elvis Costello's "Welcome to the Working Week."

And while were on the subject of Elvis Costello: here is a killer version of "Radio, Radio" with Elvis and the Beastie Boys. Enjoy! And from one working stiff to another...have fun today!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

July Fourth

It sounds like a war zone outside, yet my three-year-old son continues to sleep soundly in the next room. It probably helps that he went without a nap today. It didn't help me at all, but at least he is not waking up due to the pops and whistles sounding throughout the neighborhood.

On the good news front: I was called today by the manager of Ravenna Third Place books and offered a job. I will start this Monday with a brief respite on Wednesday to see a Mariners game, for which I already had tickets. My shifts will be 2 pm to 10:30 pm, Monday through Friday. At least initially. It will be good to be back in a bookstore again, especially with the 40% off employee discount. I'm already compiling a list of books I've put off buying.