Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Slappin' the Bass Mon"

For some reason, when I attended the Lizz Wright performance last Sunday evening, her bass player reminded me of this skit from "Kids in the Hall." It certainly wasn't that he was a bad bass player. In fact, his bass had five strings, as opposed to the usual four, so that must mean he's good. It was just that bass players sometimes put out the dorky vibe. I don't think they can help it, it's the nature of the instrument. I don't feel the same way about the stand-up bass. And bass players often get a bad rap. It's true that it doesn't necessarily require a lot of talent to provide the thumping rhythm, while standing next to the cute drummer. But most times the bassist doesn't really get to shine, because of the nature of the music. On the opposite end of the spectrum: check out Jaco Pastorius sometime. That mutha can slap the bass mon!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Gray Skies

The skies are gray today in Seattle. There still may be a few sunny days left before the long dark season begins. The outside lights at the bookstore now come on at 3 pm in preparation for midwinter, because that's when darkness will fall with regularity for a while. I've spent the morning cleaning house, and keeping myself busy with minor tasks to keep my mind off the gray skies in my heart. Tomorrow Jen and I are meeting with a mediator ($300 a fuckin' hour!) to finalize our divorce paperwork and get it filed. I'm ready to be done with it. My last straw was reached late last year, and I have no stamina nor will to try and repair anything at this point. Nor has Jen shown any interest in the same. I still feel a great deal of sadness for putting my son in this situation, but all I can do is continue to be the best father I can for him. To give him unconditional love and caring ad infinitum.

I knew that I was going to reach this emotional brick wall at some point. Jen and I have had an overall good marriage based on a strong friendship, but there has been vital elements missing for years now. No matter the cause of the break-up it is a sad occasion that I need to swim through and somehow make it to the other side. Books will always be there for me, and music. I'll continue to write in my journal, and get out in the great northwest outdoors to aid in shaking off the woes that crop up from time to time. Nobody said life was going to be easy...at least nobody told me that. (I stole that line from "The Big Chill.")

Blue Wednesday

I feel like I'm closing doors that are better left open. That's not a good trend. If only I could take a sabbatical. Of course, these are the type of thoughts that I should be writing down on paper and stuffing inside a bottle with the intention of throwing it out to sea. Instead I type these frustrations and symptoms of minor mental maladies down on a public blog. Is this a non too subtle cry for help?

I have started reading The Mysterious Flame by the British philosopher Colin McGinn. I have found in the recent past that reading philosophy and science takes my mind off the more troubling aspects of my life. I find myself concentrating on the complexities of the topic at hand, rather than dwelling on my blue moments and missed opportunities. Sometimes all I need is a shoulder to cry on, but then I find myself unable to summon forth the tears. I don't even think that one of my favorite tearjerker movies could cause tears to well up in my eyes at this point.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Concert Preview

Here is the soulful and sultry Lizz Wright singing "Stop," which is a Joe Henry composition. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she will do this number when I see her this weekend at Jazz Alley.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sack O' Woe

I did something unusual tonight. When I had my evening dinner break, instead of going to one of my usual three eating spots -- Zeek’s Pizza, Jalisco’s Mexican food, or Vios Mediterranean food -- I decided to drive to the nearest QFC and just pick up a few things to eat back at the bookstore. As I crested the hill going west on 65th, I witnessed one of the most beautiful sunsets I have seen in a while. The pink rays were bursting skyward above the silhouette of the Olympic mountains. It was an amazing site, but inside all I could visualize was turbulent seas, and darkening skies.

As I walked out of the grocery store with my bag containing a couple of Snapple iced teas, a pre-made turkey sandwich from the deli, and a package of two Grandma’s® peanut butter cookies, I imagined that I was on a road trip, and I had merely stopped at the local market to pick up something to eat before once again hitting the road. It was better than the reality of heading back to work.

Part of the melancholia I felt as I viewed the beautiful sunset was caused by the fact that I have not been in the mountains at all this year. I haven’t been camping in at least a year. In fact, I have a nice new tent that I was given as a Christmas gift two years ago that still has not been used. Sadness comes in all forms, and lately mine has manifested itself as an accounting of opportunities missed. I could sure use a week (or two, or three) in the woods with a good book (or two, or three.)
***

I’ll be back at the house for an extra night this week on Thursday. Jen is working a shift at ACCES in Lake City. She has sworn that this will be her last extra shift for a while. That’s a promise that I’ve seen broken many times before. Tonight she called me to inform me that we have a meeting with a mediator on Friday morning at 8 a.m.. I wish the appointment was not so damn early, but I guess it was their only opening for weeks. This means that after this meeting our divorce will be moving forward fairly quickly. My state of mind pertaining to this divorce has not changed. Last fall, when I was informed that I was no longer welcome to be a stay-at-home dad; and there was a severe lack of compassion during my surgery recovery; and it was requested that my wife and I separate for a year with a re-evaluation at the end of that year, I decided that I had had enough. My first thoughts were for my son’s well-being. It broke my heart that we had adopted this beautiful boy only to divorce before his fourth birthday. My wife’s opinion is that it is better for him to have two happy parents living separately rather than living together in state of misery. She has a point there.

This Sunday I will be attending my first live show at Jazz Alley (as long as I don’t screw that up before then.) I will be seeing Lizz Wright, who music has kind of become the score for my current relationship.

Tomorrow I’m hoping to get up in time to get my haircut, and to pick up the nearly twenty CDs I have on hold at the library. Then it’s back to work, and the whole cycle starts all over again.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Already?

It's Friday, which means that I will being going to the house after work to care for Justin until sometime Sunday. I haven't hung out with my son since Monday, so I'm ready for some father/son bonding time. Last weekend I had him here at my apartment for a while on Saturday. I was making the meager attempt to get him to take a nap, and I was laying next to him on the bed. Needless to say, I was very sleepy and could easily have fallen asleep. But Justin was quite energetic and he decided to pull a book of my nearby shelf to read me a story. He chose The Portable Nietzsche and began, "Once upon a time there was a boy named Justin....and he was an existentialist." Actually, I added that last line, but just the fact that he pulled Nietzsche off the shelf and began his tale made me laugh. My little philosopher.

Last night we sold a copy of Dan Brown's latest piece of commercial crap. At least the customer seemed to know what they were buying, because they declared it the ultimate airport book. Ah well, there goes our streak of having not sold one copy of the latest book that the media says we must all buy like faithful sheep.

I'm going to leave a little early for work, so that I may drop off a bundle of CDs at the library and pick up a few more, including the Definitive Rod Stewart and Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Harold Arlen songbook. You will all be happy to know that Godsmack is on its way, to offset the mellow mood music.

A Musical Interlude

Here is the great Geoff Muldaur singing "Got to Find Blind Lemon." I was lucky enough to catch Geoff a couple of years back when he made a rare stop in Seattle. It was a wonderful show, but there were only ten to twenty people in attendance, which is a damn shame. There is nothing like an intimate acoustic blues performance, and I feel lucky to have caught his performance. This particular song is on The Secret Handshake album. Check it out.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Literature and It's Enemies

It's nearing one in the morning...the morning of September 16th. Last Monday the 7th was my 13th wedding anniversary. I had completely forgotten about it until I was at the house that evening to care for Justin overnight and happened to glance at the calendar in the kitchen. I think it's probably the first year that I've forgotten, but I have a lot of things on my mind, like the dissolution of said marriage.

Last night I stayed at the house to care for Justin, and I was with him until I had to leave for work today. He has had some behavior issues lately, and it's hard to tell how much is caused by the impending divorce of his parents, and how much is just due to the fact that he is three and a half years old. There has certainly been some major changes in all of our lives over the last six months. I was with Justin nearly every day for the first three plus years of his life, until a wrench got thrown into the works last fall. Now that I'm working full-time, and living in my own apartment, my time with him has been drastically reduced.

Tonight I am staying at my apartment, and I will not be back at the house until Friday night. One of the pluses of being home is that I don't have to pill the cat. This translates to stuffing a Prozac down Lyle's gullet whenever I am staying the night at the house. Lyle is the resident psycho cat, and if he doesn't get regular doses of Prozac he starts to act freakier than usual and begins to pee indiscriminately around the house. The last time this happened he peed on some of my art books in my office. So, I have a vested interest in making sure he gets his meds...at least until all of my possessions are moved out.

As much as I'd like to ramble on and on, I must get some sleep before arising to sell more books tomorrow. Today is that day that the new Dan Brown novel went on sale. In case you've been living in a cave for the last ten years: Dan Brown is the author of the bestseller The Da Vinci Code, which was poo-pooed by the Vatican, and henceforth became a global bestseller. Brown's latest book is entitled The Lost Symbol and five million copies were shipped to bookstores in time for today's sale date. We have 32 copies in stock at Ravenna, and I'm somewhat proud to say that by the end of today we had not sold one copy. That fact makes me proud of our literate customers. We also have a very small true crime section, no romance section, and no copies of the Left Behind series in stock. Unfortunately, we have sold a couple of copies of Glenn Beck's piece of garbage, but I think the people that bought them were from South Carolina or something...just visiting.

Anyway, so much for not rambling on and on. I now must get into bed and listen to some music on my headphones for a while before drifting off into dreamland.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Busy Biped

It's going to be a busy next couple of days on my schedule. Tonight, after work, I will be heading to the house to care for Justin until I leave for work tomorrow. As I stated in my last blog post, his friend August will be dropped off for a couple of hours, which may or may not make my morning more hectic. I'm voting for "may not." Then it's off to work again, but tomorrow night I get to return to my small, but comfy abode. On Friday morning I will have to arise much earlier than I would prefer to attend a seminar at the Seattle courthouse for parents that are going through the divorce process. I will then go straight to work at the bookstore only to head to the house afterwards to care for Justin until sometime Sunday afternoon. I'm already tired just thinking about it. My reward will come on Sunday afternoon, when rest and relaxation are pretty much guaranteed. I have a dear friend to help me de-stress after a busy week. Whew!

Back to School

Here's a thought: if you're not blessed with a shapely ass, then maybe you shouldn't wear tight pants that emphasize your lack in that bodily area. Just a thought that crossed my mind, as I sat and ate lunch in Jalisco's and noticed that high school was back in session. Please don't write me off as a dirty old man for noticing what is plainly put on display.

Work has been well, besides the fact that I cannot go a week without purchasing at least a half-dozen books. I think I've already reached my quota this week. Tonight I finished reading Losing My Religion by William Lobdell, and it was inspiring in an atheistic kind of way. I already have my next book planned: The Tenant by Roland Topor. I read it over twenty years ago, but I recently decided to make it my latest featured "staff pick" at Ravenna Third Place, and I feel obligated to reread it, so that I can give it an honest review. I may not have felt that way, if the book wasn't so short (137 pages.) The book was made into a film by none other than Roman Polanski, and he took the unusual step of playing the feature role. I plan on re-watching the film as soon I finish the book.

Tomorrow night I will be back at the house (even though I'm not exactly welcome there) to watch over Justin until I leave for work on Thursday. This is an extra duty this week, because my wife is still making up time for her trip to Ohio. I found out tonight that I will be overseeing the care of another toddler on Thursday morning, Justin's friend August. I almost feel that this addition will make my job a little easier, because they can entertain each other, while I stand on the sidelines and make sure nobody plays with matches, or tries to drink anti-freeze.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Musical Interlude

Do my eyes deceive me? It's Rob Zombie and Lionel Ritchie singing the Commodores hit "Brick House." It's both scary and funky!