Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Odd Day

Today is an Odd Day in the fact that I am going into work at noon rather than 2pm. I'm already screwed up, because I should eat before work, but I'm not hungry yet. I'll get my break around 4pm. I guess the plus side is that I'll be home at 8:30pm as opposed to 10;30pm. Viva la difference.

I have actually sat down to write a blog post more than once since my last post, but it always ends up being quite late. Lately sleep has won over, and I put away my blog for another day. The heat has also kept me a little less active than I usually am. I recline on the couch to read my book and then the white noise from the fan lulls me to sleep. Ah well.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Bonus Boredom Video

Here is the one and only Iggy Pop singing about a predicament that he finds himself in. Take a listen.

Anyone Bored?

It is late Thursday night, or early Friday morning, depending on your viewpoint. Is the glass half empty, or half full? Are we leaning into the weekend, or merely winding down from Thursday? Whatever it is, I'm sitting here trying to throw a few hundred words together in some semblance of a blog post. Aerosmith (of all groups!) is blasting out of my headphones; their vibratory musical sounds winding their way through my ear canal, and presenting themselves to my mind to be decoded. Late 1970s, early 1980s hard rock band hailing from Boston and its environs. Lead singer originally noted for his resemblance to Mick Jagger (big pouty lips, bulging crotch at the forefront), but he soon outgrew that label. Known for hits such as "Dream On," "Walk This Way," and "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" among others.

One more day of work. One more day of finding authors on shelves for customers. "Where's your nonfiction section?" "Do you have any used copies of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo?" "Is The Help in paperback yet?" Once in a while I can direct folks towards personal favorites such as Edward Abbey, Dan Chaon, and Jim Krusoe. I'm quite anxious to start John Brandon's sophomore effort, Citrus County. I need enough time to carve at least 50 pages out of it before closing the cover. I don't want just a little taste. I want to immerse myself in the text for an afternoon. I should have plenty of opportunity for that this weekend. Who knows? I might even get it finished by Monday.

And then it's on to the next book, filling my mind with words and ideas. Filling it with the trials and tribulations of fictional characters, but also examining my own ideals and situations through the eyes of the author. Movies are fun, and music soothes my soul, but literature and taken me across centuries and taught me who I could be. [Sounds corny, but we call it Maisy.] Now I while away my hours alphabetizing, pricing used books, receiving new books, and assisting other readers track down just the right title for them.

I never understand anyone who complains of boredom. Their ennui is self-induced and false, because there are books to read, and music to enjoy. One of my favorite pastimes has always been taking a long, leisurely walk, and letting my mind wander, and my allow my woes to drop away. Others find fulfillment in sport, or gardening. But boredom? Please spare me the sound of a siren like whine winding its way into my canals, thanks to your lack of imagination.

Boredom is a state of mind and a choice, because one can always choose to lift one's duff from the soft and inviting sofa and take action. Even if that action is only walking a dozen or so steps to the kitchen to boil water for tea. There may even be a few crumpets left to accompany that tea. And this imagined entity can take the tea and crumpets out onto the veranda, and enjoy the view of the vineyards. Poof! Boredom gone. At the other end of the spectrum: You could take a short trip to the 7-Eleven and pick up a 12-pack of something cheap and encased in aluminum. (Aluminum - Its atomic number is 13) Then you could watch one of the many sports programs sponsored by that very beer you're sipping (slurping? Gulping?) Poof! Boredom gone.

Tonight — to battle that phantom known as "boredom" — I have chosen to write a rambling, and ponderous blog post. Late night/early morning be damned. Full speed ahead. I also have the advantage of knowing that mon amour will be taking my loquacious and energetic son to work with her in the morning. He will have fun there, and I will get a few more hours of precious sleep before heading to work.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Missing You...

No, I'm not on vacation again. I just seem to be at a severe lack of free time lately. Nothing has really changed, but it just feels like I have less free time. Evidently, my blog posts have slipped down the rungs on my ladder of priorities. If I had a laptop, and free Wi-Fi where ever I roamed, then I would probably post more often. I was in the mood to write just before work today, while I was sitting in the shade behind a local church. The time before work is usually reserved for reading though.

Speaking of reading, I finished reading my first (and the first) Inspector Van der Valk mystery this evening. It showed promise, and I'll probably read a few more in the series at some point, but I have a feeling that my admiration for the character is reserved for the old BBC series. I've already picked the next book that I'll read: Citrus County by John Brandon. I loved Brandon's debut novel, Arkansas, and I even have a signed copy. Citrus County was just released, and I'm hoping that I can write up a complementary staff pick card for it, to help boost its sales in our store.

Now it's time to get to bed, before the robins start to sing, and all the drunks are asleep.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Random Thoughts

Sunset is the close of the day. It's also the name of a magazine featuring the west coast of the USA. The sunset years, or "golden" years are the pseudonyms for the last days of human life. The sun does not actually set anywhere, of course. It just hangs there in the heavens, exerting gravitational force on the planets that surround it, keeping them in its orbit. It is a huge nuclear furnace that enables little old us out here on planet Earth to live as we do. That's right, because of the warmth of the sun we have nice green lawns, white water rafting, and plenty of flora and fauna to go around.
* * * *

I've had a $25 Best Buy card since my birthday at the beginning of last month, and I finally found a reason to use it yesterday. The latest film directed by Noah Baumbach, "Greenberg" was released on DVD yesterday. After the sale cost of "Greenberg," I still had five bucks to use, so I found a copy of "The French Connection" and "The French Connection II" for only $9.99. I don't know if there are any extras, because the packaging is pretty bare bones. Now that I think of it, I seem to remember that I saw "The French Connection II" at a drive-in theater way back when. No wonder I don't remember it very well. Drive-in movie theaters were never really for watching movies.

In fact, I've been pondering going to the drive-in theater this summer at some point. The only problem is that during the summer way up here in the Pacific Northwest the sun sets at about 10 pm (if at all!) They also have outdoor movies in some of the neighborhoods here in Seattle, where you show up with your blankets, and snacks, and "enjoy the show." Lots of stuff to do here in Seattle when the sunshine is available for use.

I should be done reading The Chalk Circle Man tomorrow at some point. It's quite enjoyable, especially because I read mysteries for the characters and dialogue. The Chalk Circle Man is the first in a series, and I can certainly see myself returning to these characters again. I think I'll be reading another mystery next, by the British author Nicolas Freeling. There was a BBC series based on his Inspector Van der Valk mysteries back in the 1970s, and I really enjoyed that show, so I thought I'd give the books a try. The first book, Love in Amsterdam (aka Death in Amsterdam) is waiting for me at my local library.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

International Hump Day

Yes, it's Wednesday again. It's a gorgeous day outside. Not too hot. Not too cool. Just right to play hooky. Oops! I did that last week. I guess I need to work all five days this week. Actually, I came very close to taking Monday off. There was this plumbing problem that nearly brought me to tears, but at that point I was ready to get out of the house, and in to work.

As has become my habit lately, I will head to the bagel shop for lunch, and then to my favorite reading spot before work. I'm about halfway through The Chalk Circle Man, and, as with most mysteries, I expect this to be a quick read. It's quite fun, and just chock full of quirky characters. Certainly not high brow entertainment, but then again it's not the Overton Window either.

Monday, July 12, 2010

It's All Over Too Soon...

It is very late, or very early depending on your point of view. I just came in from the deck. I sometimes sit out there during these early morning hours. It's usually very quiet, and peaceful. Tonight there was a mist blowing in the breeze. The online weather report described the current condition as a "drizzle." Whatever the label, the precipitation felt nice upon my skin, especially after the recent spate of unusually hot days.

My son left for NYC earlier today. He will be back late Friday, so time with him this week will not be all that much less than usual. This is his second cross-continental trip in just over a month. He'll be doing the town in New York, and the forecast is calling for rain, so he'll be doing some indoor activities. I look forward to his happy and healthy return.

Again, after finishing the excellent novel Jakob von Gunten, I had a difficult time choosing another book to read. I want to read so much at once that I'm nearly stymied by sheer quantity of books on my shelves (and in storage, and that I've yet to buy.) I've been reading Beyond Einstein by Michio Kaku half-heartedly for the past week. It's Kaku's attempt to explain Superstring Theory to non techies such as I. It's an enjoyable book that feels more like a refresher course than anything new and enlightening. I was still craving a good novel, so today I started reading The Chalk Circle Man by the French mystery author, Fred Vargas. That's Ms. Fred Vargas.

I was determined to get something onto my blog this weekend, but I really should retire before the sun announces Monday morning.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bright Light

The sun is blazing above Seattle today. The temperature is supposed to reach into the 80s. There is a breeze, which makes the warmth more palatable to me. It just so happens that I went to bed feeling nauseous last night, and darned if that nausea didn't return today just as I was fixing to go to work. I actually had to pick my son up from his gymnastics class today, and that we made a rare visit to Red Robin to indulge in some lunch. After that Justin's mom was done with her medical appointment and ready to pick him up. It was at that point that I called in sick. My boss thought it was doable manpower-wise, and he told me to "get yourself better." Lucky for me, getting myself includes sitting on the deck under the sun, reading Jakob von Gunten.

Yes, I finally started a novel a couple of nights ago. It's by the Swiss writer Robert Walser, and I've been meaning to get to Herr von Gunten for a while. Really, I've wanted to read the book ever since I saw the film "Institute Benjamenta," which is based on the book. The film is very visual, and David Lynch-like, and unfortunately it's now out-of-print. It's been a few years since I've seen the film, so the book is still a bit of a revelation to me. Walser was without a doubt ahead of his time with his modernist take on literature.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Holiday Videos

Can there be a more definitive version of our bloody anthem? Good morning soldiers. Rise and shine. It's the Fourth of July in the United States of America, Inc. We bring you Coca-Cola, Marlboros, and Freedom all wrapped in one big messy sieve of a package.

When I see someone waving a flag, or an SUV with plastered with bumper stickers with boastful nationalistic sayings, I think of the Clash. The Only Band That Matters. The Clash, and Joe Strummer in particular, was the political and humanistic voice of my generation.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Too Many Choices

For some reason I'm having the hardest time picking a book to read next. I finished reading the very short Simenon novel, The Engagement mid-week, but try as I may, I just haven't settled on my next book. I always feel a little unmoored without being in the midst of a good read. I keep picking up nonfiction titles, which is probably a clue has to what I should read next. My temptation is to continue to read a slew of mystery and noir crime novels, because I eat them up so fast, and they are quite enjoyable.

I was telling my beloved about my dilemma tonight, and her response was that I probably could have had a another book read by now. That is true. Usually I find the process of choosing my next book to be fun. It gives me a chance to browse over the titles in my library yet to be read. It reminds me of titles I hadn't thought of in a while. I haven't had a real stretch of significant reading time in a while. I got most of The Engagement read while sitting in my care waiting to go into work. After posting this I'll peruse some more books, and maybe I'll actually settle on something.

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, and that is a nationally recognized holiday here in America. That means plenty of 4th of July sales; additional excuses (and days!) to get drunk!; and the big kicker: explosives! The fourth happens to fall on a Sunday this year, so Monday will be the holiday "observed." That means no mail delivery, no bank business and so forth. Flags will be waving with extra gusto throughout the weekend.

Someone left a plastic flag on our porch the other day. What was I supposed to do with it, plant it at my grandfather's gravestone? Wave it during local parade, as the high school band marches by playing some George M. Cohan tune? Or send it back to China from whence it came?

The students next door were getting all beery again. It is Saturday night after all. I have no issue with twenty-somethings with nothing better to do partying on the weekend, but because our house practically within arm's reach of their house, then every smoke break becomes fodder for my judgement. I was taking a break on our back deck as is my wont, when I overhead such wonderful nuggets as: "I love tequila. I could drink it all night long." "I tell people I'm an ER surgeon all the time." "Thanks a lot asshole." Then they moved off to some local bar, where they could continue their intellectual discourse.

There is a beautiful half moon rising in the east, slightly obscured by clouds. I'll have to take another break outside in the moonlight before I retire. Our neighborhood is surprisingly, and pleasantly quiet after midnight. The college kids are never really loud past midnight. I don't think that they party on the back balcony, because it looks like it's leaning towards the parking lot at a unsafe angle.

Time to stop procrastinating and choose a book to read. Time's a wasting.

Father/Son Day

Everyone is out of the house today, so it's just my son and I. After lunch we're going to go see "Toy Story 3." He has already seen it, but will not matter. After that we have a date to play Super Mario Brothers on the Wii. We've set our limit at 25 minutes. I haven't played any video games with Justin, so I'm sure he'll be happy to kick daddy's butt.