Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Holiday Fever

Here we are in the week between Christmas and New Year. Nobody wants to work. We all just want a break from the craziness of consumerism. I myself could use about a month in the wilderness with a tall stack of books by my bedside and my Significant Other under the blankets in the bed, waiting for me. These are the thoughts of hibernation that inhabit my head at this time of year. My wife was driving me to work on Monday morning, and all I could think of was continuing to drive until we were far away from any obligations or other annoying events in our lives.

A sabbatical is just what the doctor would order if I had a doctor that used wisdom rather than flow charts to help with his patients' health. What could possibly be healthy (and we're talking mental here) about continuing to work when burnout is just around the corner.
* * *

On the other hand: Tomorrow is Friday and payday. My son is here through Sunday evening. His presence always brightens our household, even in the dead of winter. I still have two wall maps to put up in his room this weekend. I tried to get it done on Christmas eve, but apparently Justin's bedroom walls are made of concrete. I need to find some good adhesive to put up his maps this weekend.

Maybe if I'm lucky, my wife and I will get out to the movies this weekend. We were intending to do dim sum and a movie on Christmas, but our five-year-old was ready for his nap early. The movie selection seems to be lacking this season, but there are still 3 or 4 films I'd like to catch in the theater.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Today at Work

Wednesday is not my favorite day at work. For one's not Friday. And for another thing, I work with my two least favorite co-workers: The wastie princess, and the old schoolmarm, who still claims to be in her forties (I'm not buying it. She's at least sixty.) Their main problem is their conviction that they are somehow the hippest things in this store. They are sadly mistaken. A.)If one thinks one is hip, then one is automatically unhip. B.) There is no such thing as being hip. It's all just an overworked imagination and an excessive ego. These are people who spend their lives feeding on surface values. Depth is unknown to them. That's probably why they are happier than me. My depth causes me to sink to emotional depths sometimes. I get angered by stupidity and ill-treatment. In other words, I most often do not fit in here at work, even though I love books more than these hipster, and am better read than them. Being well-read just doesn't matter at the end of the least not in this society.

Funkadelic for Y'all

Here's a bonus video. A little Funkadelic on hump day. Do you think I could get away with playing this at work?

What to Write

Oh, I've been wanting to post more...really I have. Part of it the time of the year. Working in retail always leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth during the holidays. It's a bitterness that's hard to swallow. I've never bought into the Rockwellesque Christmas scene. In fact, there was a time when I thought I would go camping every Christmas, but when I ended up in retail it became impossible to escape the consumer madness every year. Now I help the bookstore bring in the big bucks at Christmastime, while us employees get used, used, used. If we're lucky, the powers-that-be will dole out some gift cards by the end of the year. Gift cards that I will probably let sit around until next year. I still have a Cupcake Royale gift card in my room somewhere.

There's been a wage freeze at my bookstore for as long as I can remember. Last week the owner came in with some of his contractor friends. They were examining our front door (a sliding door left over from the PCC.) They were obviously coming up with some idea to strike our owner's fancy. It will probably be some gaudy display made from fallen wood that customer will fawn over. Meanwhile the employees will struggle from payday to payday.

So, besides bitching about work, what's going on in my life? My son is coming over today. I'll see him at suppertime. He'll be here through Sunday evening, which is always a pleasure. I'm still head-over-heels in love with my Significant Other. That will not change before the sun dies. She makes life much easier. We're both filled with hate for ignorance and stupidity, and it bonds us. But we share so much more than a mutual hate for ridiculous people. A shared hatred only gets you so far.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Jeff Beck

Here's bonus video. Jeff Beck and lots of stars from the '80s.

Weeks In, Weeks Out

Scheduling snafus both at home and at work. A difficult ex-wife, and a out-of-touch manager. Weather too cold for the region. A brother in dire straits. I could let these things get me down. I'm being asked to work harder for the holidays. Bring in those bucks that help prop up the 1%. Meanwhile, I pay all my bills at the last minute before late charges start to accrue. I wear my clothes until the number of holes in them force me to buy new clothes. Just scraping enough together for lunch is sometimes difficult.

All these little rants and what do they get me? I'd benefit greatly right now from a walk in the woods. Instead I will be walking to work, getting into my worker ant mode. It's not fun to watch customer after customer throw their plastic down without worry as their totals ring into the hundreds. I'm probably the official store curmudgeon at this point, but only to my co-workers. I somehow have the customer service gene or something, because I just cannot help being helpful to book lovers. Part of this is just my tendency to be nice to others. I may not be religious, but I do believe in the adage "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." That golden rule didn't originate in the bible anyway. In fact, good morals and just concern or others didn't originate there either.

I'm actually excited to have some author "friends" on Facebook, including a few of my favorites. I just have to use quotes for Facebook "friends," because it's like calling food "lite." It's a meaningless word used in that context. Lite beer, red drink and Facebook friends. Faux faux.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Expect Delays

Gosh, it's been nearly two weeks since my last post. What have I been doing with myself? Well, I've been keeping my nose to the grindstone. In other words, I've been working hard to keep Ron Sher (the owner of Third Place Books, among other malls across the country) happy and wealthy. Every holiday season I turn into a Grinch, because we (the wage slaves at Ravenna Third Place) do not get paid for Thanksgiving or Christmas. We are supposed to present the customer with a cheery demeanor, and yet we here at the bookstore live paycheck to paycheck. The business owner is not even decent enough to pay us for the only two holidays on which the store is closed.

Today I found out that I was to wait five hours, instead of the usual four for my lunch break. They didn't even ask, because they figure that we're all so desperate to keep our jobs, that we'll do anything: skip lunch, work extra hours, and get paid the state minimum wage. Ah, the life of the 99%. It ain't easy.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Looking Towards Tomorrow

Looking towards tomorrow is very unZen, I realize, but tomorrow is Friday and this week it's also payday. Those are both pluses in my book. Oh, speaking of books: I finished reading Lawrence Block's Eight Million Ways to Die yesterday morning, and now consider myself an official fan of the Matthew Scudder series. I'll probably go back and start reading the series from the beginning to get all of Scudder's history. It's the kind of mystery that is more about the character and his travails. I much prefer characterization over complex plots.

I started William Giraldi's Busy Monsters, which I've been quite anxious to crack. I read the first 16 pages twice, just because it's so much fun to read. I constantly find myself wanting to read lines aloud to my wife, but she mentioned wanting to read it after me, so I have to keep mum. I cannot help laughing aloud though. This book is going to be fun and it's the 45th book I have read this year. I took a challenge on the GoodReads site, and set my goal at 45 books. I'll probably even get a few extra read before the year ends. That is the most books that I have read in a few years. It helps to be without cable. It also helps to live with someone, who is also a reader. The family that reads together grows smart together.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rainy Mid-Week

My mind is in a cloud that's hovering above the Pacific coastline. I know that I have to go to work in a half of an hour, but my mind will not follow me there. My mind is already occupied relishing the peace and quiet of five nights away. My mind is already at rest even though my body must still go through the paces of work until sometime Friday afternoon. (Don't tell anybody, but I don't plan on returning to work after lunch on Friday. I'm getting married that afternoon. Isn't that enough of an excuse to blow off the afternoon? I think so.) I already have a bag full of books to take along on this trip. Books to peruse while reclined by the wood stove, and listening to the waves crash onto the beach in the background.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Speeding Up Time

All I can think about this week is the fact that I'm going on vacation starting Friday evening. I try to think of posts to write, but my mind keeps drifting to the coast, a well-stoked wood stove, with my Significant Other by my side (or possibly underneath or on top.) This upcoming respite from the madding crowd is only five nights, but we have been anticipating this little break for months.

This trip is also serving as a honeymoon for my love and I. My son doesn't get to go, which is too bad, because he "wants to go to the moon too." Maybe next time. This time it's just my S.O. and myself, with the Pacific to our west and the sunrise to the east.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sundays and Getaways

The sun is trying to break through the clouds. Oops. What did I just say? The sun is trying to break through the clouds. That first sentence implies that the sun has intentions. I'm almost done reading a book that claims that not only do objects like the sun have no intentions, but neither do we. No intentions, no purpose . . . no purpose-driven life! We could say, "well, I give my own life purpose." The problem there is the "I" part. There is no "I." No self watching from behind our eyes, keeping us morally straight and morally bound. At least that's the stuff I've been getting out of this book, The Atheist's Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life Without Illusions by Alex Rosenberg. I haven't gotten to the part yet where he informs me how to enjoy life when I don't even think about stuff, or have freewill (think about that one for a few minutes.) I keep thinking back to the first Matrix film — practically a primer in basic philosophy — when the Cypher character says, while holding up a juicy piece of steak on his fork: "I know this steak doesn't exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After 9 years, you know what I have learned? [Eats the piece of steak and sighs contently] Ignorance is bliss."

Beside twisting my mind into philosophical knots, I've been trying not to spend too much time thinking about my upcoming trip. My Significant Other and I are heading out to the Olympic Peninsula for five entire nights (and the days too!) on November 18th. It's one of those well-deserved respites that will be over much too quickly. Why is it that the miserable moments in our life seem to stretch on forever and moments of ecstasy are over in a orgasmic flash? Sounds like another unanswerable philosophical conundrum to me.

Whenever the skies cloud over and there is the smell of wood smoke in the air, my mind drifts off to the romantic paradise we call Kalaloch. It's about a half hour drive south of the entrance to the Hoh Rain Forest. There is a lodge building, and a number of cabins spread along the bluff. It is contained within the Olympic State Park, so that makes it slightly less commercial than it would otherwise be allowed to be. I've been going out there for about fifteen years and it hasn't changed too much in that time, which is a good thing.


So, I've been very neglectful of my blog these recent months. Life does tend to get in the way of things like blogging. I'm also not very good about setting aside time for important things like writing. This particular Sunday morning my S.O. is at a meeting until after noon, and her 18-year-old son is sleeping in. It's a good time for me to groove on some tunes and let the words slip from my fingers, as I write yet more banal entries and send them into the ether.

I only have about twenty pages left to the book I'm reading, but reading is something I enjoy doing with my S.O.. Sitting in my office by myself with the music cranked is better done while she is off doing her thing. Maybe the sun will grace us with its presence this afternoon . . . even though it has no will to enable it to grace us, and it's all just fermions and bosons underneath it all, it would still be nice to be warmed by that big yellow orb today just the same.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Another Beautiful Fall Day

And I'm stuck at work with uninteresting co-workers. Work should serve as an escape when the lights are a little dimmer at home, but it doesn't work that way for me. Add to the work day the fact that I have to drive up to Lake Forest Park to listen to two sales reps from Random House tout all the mainstream books coming out this fall. Oh, there will be free advance copies...of lame books that they need to give away to get anyone to read.

Oh well. I've only been here just over an hour, which means that time is moving at a snail's pace. It doesn't help to complain either. I've learned that. It's better to keep one's mouth shut and stay in survival mode.

Soon the weekend will be here, along with payday, although this payday -- like most paydays -- most of the check is already slated to pay bills.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Brief Moment of Sanity on Mainstream TV

I don't watch television, but I know people who do. I hope some of Sarah Palin's fans, who I think probably watch a lot of television, got a chance to see this wonderful little diatribe by Martin Bashir. It's a little weird to do both and obituary of Steve Jobs and a slamming of Palin in the same segment, but somehow it works.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Substitiutions for Size

The Occupy Wall Street have been ongoing. It hasn't been easy, because the police actually seem to enjoy beating on people. You might think, Okay, the police are paid by taxes of working citizens. The police are unionized. And they are human beings. That doesn't matter, because when the jack boots hit the road, they are there only to protect the interests of the rich and powerful. It was only a few months back that I posted a video showing someone being choked by police, because he was dancing (barely) inside the Lincoln Memorial. He was choked for this "crime." I thought, "Oh, we're going to see this on the nightly news." No a peep. I forgot who owns the nightly news. The police are not there to protect YOU. There are there to protect the interests of those who run this country: The Corporations. Part of me wished I still lived in the northeast of this country, and then I could go down and be part of this whole class warfare thing. Of course the Republicans shun class warfare and make it sound like a bad thing. That's because a good old class warfare is about the only thing that would pale John Bonehead's tan, and make his golf handicap laughable. Instead we have the rich dicks of Wall Street, sipping champagne as they scoff at the protestors below.

In this video you will see a New York City policeman, anxious to use his nightstick. Maybe with that belly of his he better not have to run down any suspects.

Notice how the cop says that his little nightstick will get a workout tonight...hopefully. He's not hoping for a peaceful demonstration. He's wanting to beat some defenseless citizens. What a sad little man all dressed in blue.

In this video you get to see those Nerf nightsticks in action. Look at these men beat on unarmed citizens. My guess would be that you would have to own a mighty small penis to carry such a large nightstick. Me thinks that these cops are substituting for something that is lacking in themselves.

These instances of police brutality that get laughed off by the media are the reason that I tell my son to be wary of police officers. They are not necessarily there to help you.

Oh, and Steve Jobs died. Amanda Knox got cut loose. And I still work for a company that has no intention of ever giving its employees a raise, and does not pay us for the two holidays on which the store is closed: Thanksgiving and Christmas. I'm so glad that we can make money for the store's owner, who is currently in Europe. Meanwhile, I'll be paying my car insurance just as the cancellation is in the mail.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Nothing New

I'm sitting here at work, waiting for ten o'clock to roll around, so that I can blow this clambake. Happiness is around the corner though, because Friday is payday, and we are all reminded why we work in this lovely store...and it's not the paycheck.

It crossed my mind that I still have not had more money taken out of my check for taxes, and this coming year I will not get to claim Justin as a deduction. If I don't put some money away (fat chance of that!) then I will end up owing the government for the pleasure of being an American Citizen.

Justin will be staying at our house for the next ten days straight, because his mother is going back to New York to visit her family. His extended stay creates a little more work, and we have to juggle our schedules a little, but ultimately I love having him at my house more rather than less.

These days my mind keeps drifting to our upcoming trip to the Olympic Peninsula. My Significant Other and I will be away for five whole nights, which may actually feel like a vacation rather than a long weekend. I come back to town, work the day after Thanksgiving (I know, I know...that's Black Friday) and then I'll be off for the weekend. Of course, these days off do not arrive for over a month, but that will not stop me from day dreaming about it.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Big Thursday

Tonight we had a big event at our little independent bookstore. The book was Where You Left Me by Jennifer Gardner Trulson, whose husband died in the Twin Towers on 9/11. In other words, it's one of those my-tragedy-is-greater-than-your-tragedy kind of books. It was a great turnout, filled with people who obviously have not been effected by the current downturn in the economy. They all had their plastic faces on and their size 2 dresses. It's crowds like tonight's that reaffirms my misanthropy.

On the plus side: tomorrow is both Friday and payday. I'll head into work for 9am, which will get me out by 5:30. Then it's Friday evening at home with the family. My son goes home on Saturday this week, so I'll be missing his joyful visage a day earlier than usual.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Monday

The beginning of the work week. It is a gorgeous day outside. One of those late summer days when the sun is out, but there is a slight breeze. It was a joy to walk to work this morning. I didn't even have the urge to continue walking once I got to work. I've only been here just over an hour though, and I'm ready for my lunch break.

I finished reading Tony D'Souza's Mule last night, and I've already committed to reading John LeCarre's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy next. I happened to see the trailer for the upcoming film over the weekend, and I've been wanting to read more LeCarre anyways. "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" is touted as a classic of spy literature, and it may even be LeCarre's masterpiece.

I was already missing my son last night, and he only went back to his mother's at lunchtime on Sunday. He'll be arriving on Wednesday this week, and I'll have to get up early on Thursday to take him to school. He's such a joy to be around that it's like a light going out when he's not there.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cramping My Style

The house next to ours has been vacant for about nine months. It's been quite pleasant to be able to lounge on my deck without having to worry about my neighbors, who are nearly within reach. Our roofs nearly touch. As I was sitting on the deck last night, watching the clouds change shape, I was forced to listen to the inane ramblings of another bunch of twenty-somethings. It sounds like a band moved in next door, and they must not have been raised correctly, because they were quite loud and boisterous at three in the morning. Not a very good first impression.

It's Thursday, which means that my son arrives for his weekly stay. I'm anxious to hear his tales from kindergarten. He's about to finish his first full week. I'm the typical protective parent, worrying about his day when he's most likely fine.

On the political side: The republicans are still showing themselves to be the most cold-hearted citizens in this nation. They all about "I got mine...get your own." They call themselves Christians, which is actually fitting when you look back at religious history. They shun those who are not like them, and try and force their backward morals on everyone else. How about this adage: Take care of your own business!

Most of the right wingers, who are more than happy to instruct us liberals on the moralistic way of life are notorious backsliders themselves. Witness the big pompous hypocrite Bill Bennett for instance, who has actually written books on morals, while maintaining a serious gambling addiction.

That's my mini rant for the day. Now I need to walk to work, and look forward to Friday. I'll be working with one of my less-annoying co-workers tonight, and I'll get to control the music tonight. A couple of pluses in my favor. I'm trying to talk myself into taking my stepson to see Contagion this weekend. I haven't been to a film in a while, and Soderbergh's latest seems like a decent thriller about the end of the world as we know it. I still want to see "Tree of Life" while it's still in theaters. Otherwise, there doesn't seem to be much out there worth blowing eleven dollars on.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday, Monday

Back to work so soon? Yes, I am. Justin went home a little earlier this weekend, so my wife and I had nearly an entire weekend without having to parent a five-year-old. I have to admit that I miss Justin today though. I'm thinking about him, because today is his first full day at kindergarten. It's actually the start of his first full week. I'm sure he'll do okay.

My only issue today is having to listen to my hipster co-worker's choice of music for the day. As soon as my Diana Krall tribute to Nat King Cole ended, she was right there to start her DJ duties. Now we're listening to some young woman, who sounds like she dying from a heroin overdose, and she's taking a long time to do it too. I'd love to hear something peppy right now.

Anyway, lunch is just over two hours away, so the musical torture will continue for a while.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

STP Binge

Lately I have been listening to a lot of Stone Temple Pilots. It seems to be just the type of cathartic music I need to hear lately. Here is a nice slow one for you all.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Beastiality a Speciality

I believe that this act is illegal in thirteen states, including the District of Columbia. I'm surprised the dog doesn't ask for a cigarette at the end. Whew!

It's Not Monday

But it still feels like the beginning of a long work week. I've been back at the bookstore over two years now, and it's starting to wear me down. Working for a low wage, and never getting time off is disheartening to say the least. When I'm forced to work with people who mentally drag me down then it just intensifies my ill feelings. I could really use a sabbatical. You know, a month off to get my mind back in order. A month to lay next to my loved one. A month to read books, and listen to music. A month to fully enjoy life.

Instead, I have a month of work ahead of me, with bills to pay and an obligation vacation on the east coast to look forward to. I have a cabinet full of books at work that I have been planning to buy, but now I'm thinking of putting everything back on the shelf. I get this way once in a while. It's a form of self-punishment. Stop buying anything to cheer myself up. Work with my eye on the task at hand, and ignore the irritating masses that surround me.

I'm building up the motivation to ask the owner of Third Place Books for a raise for all employees next time he stops through (between skiing and biking trips to Europe!)
I find it insulting that this guy comes in, buys a book or two with his discount, and then not-too-subtly brags about his latest trip. Meanwhile all his employees make under eleven dollars and hour, and don't have any paid holidays. We do get Thanksgiving and Christmas off, but without pay. Without pay! This guy owns at least fifteen malls across the country, and we don't get paid for Christmas. Meanwhile he has this great reputation in the community. Maybe the next time someone wants to interview him about all his good work, they might stop by the bookstore to ask us about our working conditions.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ouch! It's Monday!

The label printer is down at work, so that cuts our tasks in half. We cannot receive anything, which means no new or used books can go out on the shelves until we solve this problem.

I also work with my least favorite co-worker all day. She once stated that she would rather appear 10% smarter, but be 20% dumber over the other option of being 20% percent smarter, but appearing 10% dumber. (Thanks to Hypertheticals by Chuck Klosterman for the "hyperthetical.")It's hard to take anyone seriously that is solely concerned with surface values.

I'm also negotiating with my boss to try and get tomorrow off with my significant other. The teenagers are out of the house for the week, and Justin doesn't arrive until Wednesday evening. It would feel like freedom to have the house to ourselves for one whole day and night, without obligations or extra dishes to wash. I'm imagining a day of reading and relaxing. Maybe an afternoon walk, followed by a quiet dinner at home. Now that's what I call a "staycation."

Friday, August 19, 2011

Blah Blah Blah

I'm having a blah day. Maybe part of the reason for my blahness is the fact that I have to come in to work tomorrow, which is usually my day off. I'm also supposed to go to a concert with my wife's son tonight. The problem is that I just need some downtime. I'm not good at pushing myself past my limits.

Galveston - Book Review

GalvestonGalveston by Nic Pizzolatto

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An impressive debut that works just as well as a character study, as it does a dark-hearted crime thriller. Roy "Big Country" Cady is on the run from his boss in New Orleans. He ends up on the shores of Galveston, with a couple of passengers in tow. Trouble is never far from Roy though, and he now finds it morally impossible to strike out on his own, leaving his dedpendent passengers to fend for themselves.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

House of Holes - review

House of Holes: A Book of RaunchHouse of Holes: A Book of Raunch by Nicholson Baker

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After reading nearly a hundred pages (not even halfway) of House of Holes, the word "monotonous" started to hover over the text like a cloud. There is a lot of fun to be had between the pages of Nicholson Baker's latest novel, and part of that fun is watching Baker let his imagination run wild — through a field of sex organs. Ultimately though, there is no character detail, or plot to follow. Just chapter after chapter of wild (predominately hetero-) sexual fantasies from the mind of one of America's premier literati.

House of Holes is a pleasant diversion, albeit a hellaciously sexual one. I would label it more bawdy and bizarre than erotic, and I certainly found myself chuckling along the way towards the only climax possible in a book of this type. As a novel though I think it works better as short stories: Since there is no genuine continuity — except a few names and the title location — I think it might work better if the reader picked it up periodically rather than wading through orgasm after orgasm for 262 pages straight. Then again...

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

I'm so Tired

I'm so tired of saying "hello" to passersby, only to have them ignore me, and sometimes they even turn their heads away. Last time I checked the mirror I didn't look like Quasimodo. What is it with our population? My whole life I have tried my best to be a good and honest person. My reward has been a perpetual series of mediocre jobs that have managed to keep me in the lower income brackets.


It's a little hard today to formulate a string of comprehensible thoughts. I just finished watching a clip of that rich egoist known as Mitt Romney, trying to drum up votes in the Iowa straw poll. This is yet another very rich republican, who is willing to spent some of his own millions to try and obtain the symbolically most powerful position in this country. Someone in the Iowan crowd brought up taxing the rich proportionally to help support the social security program. Mitt did his best to defend the rich, saying that he was surprised that we were tearing down successful people. "Successful" is his word for rich. Of course, there were the usual amount of fools in the crowd that applauded this line, because there is still a plethora of ignorant fools in this country, who somehow believe that they will someday be rich, whether by winning the lottery (you have a better chance of being struck by lightning,) or having a windfall inheritance from some unknown relative.

Mitt Romney went on to state that "corporations are people." We (the smart "we" anyway) already know that the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are people, so that rich business institutions get the same protections are regular everyday citizens. I could tell where Romney was going with his thinking: it's that old tired "trickle down theory of economics" that Ronald "bat-shit" Reagan tried to get us to swallow back in the 80's. It's that myth that the wealth from the richest trickles down the peasants begging at their feet. The truth is that the rich reward the rich. Mitt Romney was not born poor, working his way to a "successful" position in this country. His dad was the governor of Michigan. He was raised in Bloomfield, Michigan, which is one of the five wealthiest cities in the United States. This dork boy with the holy underwear would not have a clue what it means to do an honest day's work, and still not have enough money at the end of the week to feed your family.

So, was that a string of comprehensible thoughts, or just another useless rant? The election is not until the fall of 2012, but the evidence of ill mental health this country is now on display as a bevy of republican candidates sweep the country, trying (and a lot of times succeeding) to convince citizens to vote against their own best interests. The fact that Michelle Bachmann even gets any attention -- never mind that scarey Newsweek cover -- just proves that America is all about the lowest common denominator. If the right wing has its way, we'll be teaching children that people once rode dinosaurs, and that atheists and immigrants are evil. Rick Santorum claims that gay faculty in schools will teach fisting, but how does Mr. Santorum even know what fisting is?

'Nuff said!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Lifting and Toting

I must have moved about ten boxes of books into the house this past weekend. I was lucky a week ago when an extra set of bookshelves became available for use in our house. I immediately took advantage of the offer and began to move the rest of my books from the garage into the house. I will still have to cull some from the herd and trade them in. Pulling books to trade in is not an easy task. It's like Sophie's choice, trying to pick a child to send away, whom you may never see again.

The upside is that I'm uncovering a lot of books that I have been meaning to read, so I'm anxious to finish reading Pesthouse by Jim Crace so I can start making a dent in the rest of my books. As my son Justin said, "Daddy, you must have a million books!" Close.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Review of Elmore Leonard's Stick

StickStick by Elmore Leonard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have this adage: If all else fails, read Elmore Leonard. If I'm at a loss on what to pick up next, I can always turn to Elmore Leonard for a guaranteed good read. He's a master of characterization and dialogue, and he makes it all look so easy.

Stick is no exception. The main character is a likeable anti-hero, who is just trying to get his life back on track after spending some years in Jackson, a prison in Michigan. A simple job, intended to earn Stick some spending goes south, and he spends the rest of the book trying to get what is rightfully his. Stick is filled with colorful characters, and a plot that will keep you reading late into the night.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bonus Video

I listened to this song more than once last night, as I was laying in bed with my headphones. I was trying to find a calm space. Damian Marley . . . descended from greatness.

Always with the Questions

What happened to all the fun in the world? Oops! That's Frank Zappa's question (from his Sheik Yerbouti album.) My question if more like, where is all the empathy in the world? We have a tragedy in Oslo, and then the hate-mongers in America immediately start twist the facts to fit their agenda. I hear tell that the big ugly Irish dick known as Bill O'Reilly states that there is no way that Anders Behring Breivik is a Christian, because a Christian wouldn't commit mass murder. Me thinks that Mr. O'Reilly needs to read some history that's not filtered through Regency press. Christians have been committing mass murder for thousands of years. But even the oh-so-liberal New York Times is jumping on the bandwagon, now calling Breivik a "self-described Christian."

If I'm not mistaken, one of the favorite pastimes of radical Christians in America is to either kill or applaud the murder of abortion doctors (who, it so happens, are performing a legal medical operation.); some Christian radicals call for the deaths of Muslims (Bradlee Dean for example); then again some Christians are content with standing at the funerals of American soldiers with signs such as "Fags Doom Nations," "Don't Pray for the USA," "Thank God for Dead Soldiers."

You may call yourself a Christian, and disagree with the tactics of more radical Christians, but that doesn't make those nutcases any less Christian. Remember way back when during those dark years called the Bush Administration? Remember how W. wore his Christianity on his sleeve and hired a slew of right-wing Christians for his cabinet? He even created a office of "faith based initiatives" programs to help out the poor, which Obama has failed to dismantle. Back then more liberal Christians wanted to reclaim that religious mantle. They wanted to be the ones to represent Christianity as they saw it: a more kinder, gentler version of their faith. Jesus without the sword.

It's called salad bar Christianity. You take what you want, and leave the out the parts you don't like. Sounds simple. In fact, I do not believe there are many Christians that follow the bible to the letter, even though they may claim to. I haven't actually witnessed any public deaths by stoning lately, for example. If Christian's faith were as strong as they would like to think, then they would never be bothered by whether some guy across the planet doing nasty things to others, who also claims to be a Christian.

As the great philosopher Groucho Marx once said: I wouldn't want to belong to any club that would have me as a member.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Too Much to Ask

I have grown quite disappointed in my work situation lately. I've always said that it's not so much the job, so much as the environment that makes work pleasurable. All I ask is a view of the outside (I would go insane working in a building with no view of the outside world.) and interesting co-workers. Right now, my job is severely lacking in the interesting co-worker department. I just need someone that I can have an stimulating conversation with once in a while. With all truthfulness, there seems to be a general dearth of interesting people anywhere these days. Is there something in the water, or is everyone too busy texting to think anymore?

Ditto That

Okay, no rant today. It's too nice outside. There are puppies frolicking, rainbows in the sky, and I'm going to have an ice cream sundae for lunch. Yippee!

Meanwhile, the world continues to burn, while Republicans fiddle with themselves (or their mistresses.) Here's a moment of clarity from Lee Camp. I say ditto to that!

Visit for more truth telling.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rick Warren is Mad . . .

. . . mad as in insane. During this national debate about the debt ceiling, Pastor Rick Warren, who likes to fancy himself to be a kinder, gentler version of the usual conservative pastor (Wow! He works on poverty and AIDS issues!), decided to chime in with his Twitter account. He said: "HALF of America pays NO taxes. ZERO. So they're happy for tax rates to be raised on the other half that DOES."

Let me inform you first off that this tweet is a falsehood. All Americans pay sales tax and payroll taxes. To claim that half the country doesn't pay ANY taxes is just a downright lie, albeit a Christian lie. Joan Walsh of Salon commented on Warren's tweet, saying that it sounded more like Limbaugh than Jesus Christ. Warren stated that he would pray for Walsh. Why doesn't he pray for some more wealth for the needy. I'm one of the working poor. I just got anally rammed (metaphorically speaking) by Chase bank for dipping into the negative in my bank account. So, because I had a balance of -$5.39, Chase decided to punish me by charging me $34. If I was rich I would never have to pay any fees, or penalties. In fact, when you're rich, they give you free coffee!

Rick Warren is a phony, just like all the other preachers, who like to come across as if they have a private line to god (always lowercase, thank you.) Conservative/Christians like Warren, Pat Buchanan, and Mitch McConnell have no empathy for the working poor in this country. Most of these wealthy bible-thumpers were born with a silver spoon in their mouth, if not platinum. They've never had to work a day in their life, and I mean actual work, not writing speeches for wrongdoing presidents, or pontificating from the pulpit of ignorance.

Monday, July 25, 2011

So Much for the Sun

Summer is being very reluctant to stick around this year. I guess everyone else in the country is feeling the effects of global warming, but here in the Pacific Northwest we are still dealing with cool rain. The past weekend wasn't bad though, in the 80's throughout. I'm not a hot weather person anyway, so I'm fine with a little cool weather.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Thursday of Significance

Well, the main significant event that happens most Thursdays is that my son Justin comes over for his four day weekly stay. Last week we had him for ten days, which was a nice change. It's always good to have Justin around, because he's happy, good-natured and a good dancer! So, when I depart work at 7 pm this evening for my dinner break, I'll also be coming home to see my son for an hour. I guarantee you that that will be the highlight of my day.

I've had a couple of stressful days of late. I'm really craving an actual vacation. Not a long weekend here and there, or a week at my parents, visiting siblings and friends, who could never bring themselves to visit me on my turf. I could use a break from the ignorant masses. A little respite from the surrounding cacophony.

Certain elements of my personality always leave me with a feeling of loneliness at the end of the day. I'm head over heels in love with my significant other, and I've never met anyone like her, that can give love so effortlessly. Plus, she's very warm when I cuddle up next to her at night. But there always seems to be some ideas swirling around in my head that separate me from my peers. I see them joking and cavorting and just know that they do not wrestle with the same internal strife that I do.

At 50 years of age, I'm tired of fighting this internal battle. I'm tired of feeling like the lone wolf in the middle of the city.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ah Life!

It can sometimes be taxing, and often it's just plain mysterious. Life is like a mystery wrapped inside an enigma. When I think I have it in grasp it seems to slip through my fingers like mercury. I sit on my deck after midnight, and gaze at the stars, thinking to myself "moments like this are to be cherished. Quiet moments looking at star patterns, and watching the moonrise." But then I always have to re-enter society and play by their rules. At 50 years of age it has become quite tiresome dealing with the stupidity of American society. I just can't bothered to get up in arms about the madness anymore (Rupert Murdoch anyone?)

So, I'll get through this day, and will most likely finish my book on reality this evening. After finishing A Beginner's Guide to Reality, I'm sure that I'll find that I'm no closer to an answer than I was before. Reading about the underyling structure to this thing called life just allows me to view life with a little more distance, and hence doesn't drag me down emotionally like it used to. It's lonely existence though, searching for truth and doubting what anyone presents to me as their version of truth. I'm not about to believe falsehoods, just because a charismatic leader spins a good morality tale. I'd rather go through life a little sadder, knowing that it's all just chance and probibility, and no one is watching over us to ensure our safety.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Right Around the Corner

The craziness of the upcoming election is already shifting into overdrive. You've got Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Mitt "I love dogs" Romney, and John Huntsman, who used to be in a big hair band called Wizard, while he was in high school. It's a panel of crazies like you've never seen before. The most insane aspect of any of this is that these wackos, who really just want an ego massage and a big fat bank account, is that they actually have a shot of public office (never mind that some of them have already been re-elected to public office.)

I'm reminded of a recent episode of the Today Show, when the king of pompous asses himself, Donald Trump, was still making noises as if he might run for president. Bill Cosby was a guest that morning, and Viera asked him about Trump, informing Cosby that he would have to take Trump seriously if he actually ran for office. Cosby's response was that of a rational human being, which is rarely heard these days in that form of media. Cosby simply said, "No, I don't."

Why does the corporate run media give all that free air time to people like Michelle Bachmann (her husband cures the gays by urging them to pray,) Sarah Palin (former beauty queen and current quitter of the office of Governor in Alaska), and gosh, what other nuts can we pull in to this race? Herman Cain, the African-American Tea Party candidate, of course. Why does the corporate media give any serious media time to any of these flakes? Because they can! Why would they want to give speaking time to people like Bernie Sanders, who has the power to actually wake up the ignorant by speaking truth to power, but you're not going to see Bernie Sanders getting the kind of press that media whore Sarah Palin garners.

Now you can see why I don't need to resubscribe to cable TV just in time for the election. I usually read one political blog a day (The Political Carnival) and that's about all the political lunacy I can stand.

Why America Sucks Ass

Here is a quote from the new Fox show "The Five," which I guess is replacing that round-headed fool named Glenn Beck. The new hose, Eric Bolling, made a big splash today by putting his ignorance right up front: "America was certainly safe between 2000 and 2008," he said. "I don't remember any attacks on American soil during that period of time." Nobody on the panel challenged this comment.

Nobody on the panel challenged this comment. That right there is why America sucks ass, because some fool like Eric Bolling can come on television and spread lies like they're peanut butter. And no one says, "Hey that fool is lying like a rug." I believe it was that Tea Party favorite Joseph Goebbels who once said, "If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth."

And then there is this quote, which has been attributed to that untried war criminal Karl Rove: The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

And those wacky right-wingers accuse folks on the left of being P.C. police and over-sensitive. I wouldn't take anything seriously though, that was uttered by a habitual liar. Someone who wears their religion on their sleeve, but keeps their mistress in hiding. Republicans have proved themselves to be lying hypocrites again and again, and they seem to have no qualms about squashing the working poor in order to fill their own coffers a little more.

Orrin Hatch . . .

. . . a fuckhead. According to Orrin Hatch, the working poor do not pay enough taxes. We're just being too tough on the rich. Let me say it again, Orrin Hatch is a fuckhead. You can call him FH for short.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Short Shorts

Saw Alison Krauss and Union Station at Marymoor Park last Friday evening. It was my first time at the venue, and I'm glad the rain stayed away during the performance. It's a "rain or shine" kind of place.

Justin's first tooth fell out today. Well, actually it had become so loose that he asked his sister to pull it out for him, and she happily complied. He is also participating in a cooking camp this week (not actually camping in any sense of the word mind you.) Today was pancakes and tomorrow is omelets. I have a feeling Wednesday will be oatmeal. There seems to be a breakfast theme going on here.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Challenge Me

I don't want to accept the mainstream precepts that have barely propped up this society of ours for a few hundred years. I reject all religions, because nobody can define faith for me . . . except maybe Mark Twain: "Faith is believing what you know ain't so." In other words, us poor little humans want to believe in eternal justice and a wonderful promising afterlife. We want to believe in these things, so we invent this thing called "faith," which somehow legitimizes make-believe.

Does my son have faith that the tooth fairy will show up after his tooth drops out and he places under his pillow? His parents are certainly leading him to believe that the tooth fairy wants his baby teeth for her odd collection, and in return she will leave money. I guess the money is to be used for teeth cleaning products. Only makes sense, right?

I'm still not comfortable feeding the whole Santa Claus story to my five-year-old each December. In fact, I let his atheist mother take charge of all that make-believe stuff. I'd rather give my son a certain type of grounding in reality that will at least allow him to approach life more skeptically and openly.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

In Between

I stayed up way past my bedtime last night just to finish reading Terry Southern's Candy. I must say: it was a dated piece of your dad's pornography. I could tell at points that I was supposed to laugh knowingly, or have certain epiphanies when characters couldn't resist's Candy's sexual allure. But all I could think was why am I wasting my time reading this?

So now I'm in between books. I'll most likely choose something to read before the day is through. I'll carry half a dozen books to work with me with the hopes that one of them will grab me before I have to start working.

My son Justin is coming over for his stay starting today. This week he'll be with us for ten days, so we'll have to find some fun stuff to do during that time. I'll be taking him to observe an Aikido class this Saturday morning. At this point I think he could more benefit from a modern dance class, but I'll have to do some research to that end.

Tim to drag myself to work, with a brief pause to consume some sort of lunch.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bonus Video

To make up for my rant, here is an awesome song by Michael Franti. Enjoy!

A Head Full of Angst

I think that it was about four o'clock this morning when I finally fell into a restless sleep. I went to bed at midnight, feeling tired, but then I proceeded to toss and turn for four hours, sweating and uselessly trying to find a comfortable position. It's been a little bit of a bumpy week. I've made the mistake of letting stupid and sullen people get to me. One reason is my lack of a certain substance this week, and I'm not talking about Johnny Walker red either.

I'm tired of eating lunch alone everyday. I'm tired of working with hipsters, who are barely out of their twenties, but have somehow attained all the knowledge available. In fact, today I get to work with two of my least favorite people: a prima donna rock star (in her own mind anyway) and a tired looking hipster with a Hitlerian haircut.

But tomorrow is payday. It's Friday. There are a couple of reasons to put a smile on my fact. I may even get lucky and see a film in a theater. Might happen.

I should have just stayed up reading Stick until four this morning. It's a compelling thriller and reading all night would have been better than rolling around in my own sweat.

Now I must go and scrounge up some lunch somewhere. Never a fun task. I'm in a lunchtime rut, and need to find some way out of it. McDonald's ain't the answer.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead

Claire DeWitt and the City of the DeadClaire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An interesting beginning to a new mystery series. Claire DeWitt has had her share of problems in the past, including once being declared legally insane by the state of Utah. She also has a tendency to inhale any drug that is passed her way on the off chance that the experience may reveal a clue. In Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead the title character boasts of being the world's greatest detective. She is also okay with the fact that she is not very well liked. No one likes their mysteries revealed no matter how much they may think they do.

In this debut mystery Claire is trying to solve the disappearance of an Assistant District Attorney, who disappeared shortly after Katrina struck New Orleans. It has been a year since his disappearance, and his nephew, who is about to inherit the missing uncle's estate, wants the case solved before he reaps the benefits of the suspected death. Claire is does not actively investigate her cases as much as she opens herself up to any clues that may present themselves to her, whether they arrive through dreams, or revealed by the tattoo of a busboy in a local restaurant.

This mystery moved along at a quick pace, and Claire DeWitt has enough quirks to fill a few more novels. I think the sales would be better if this had been released as a paperback original. It's tough enough to sell hardcover mysteries, but trying to get a reader to shell out $24 on an author they have never tried before is tough.

View all my reviews

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Working on a Saturday

WTF?! Well, one of our stellar employees is touring the northeast part of our dysfunctional country on his vacation. Today is also the BIG 40% off all used books sale. It's all about customer service today. I still have just over an hour until my shift starts, which means that I have some time to get myself psychologically prepared. First step is listening to a slew of AC/DC before beginning my trek to work.

Working on a Saturday evening also means that I'll miss family movie night. I'll also miss the snacks that go along with family movie night. My son thought it was amusing that I would be missing family movie night. His response: "Too bad, so sad."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Week That Was

I know, I know. It's only Thursday. In some eyes it may seem quite a ways from the weekend, and thus the end of the work week. This Saturday I will be working an extra shift (yeah time and a half!), but I'm not too happy about working the closing shift on a Saturday (boo closing shift!) Plus, we will get three paychecks during the month of July, and I'm still trying to figure out whether I can work that to my advantage somehow.

My dinner break is about twenty minutes away. Until then I get to price used books like crazy in preparation for the big sale this weekend.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Same Old Same Old

Ah, it's Wednesday. Friday is payday, which is a good thing, because I ran out of money today. Today is midweek, which psychologically puts me on the backside of the work week. My son will be back tomorrow for a few days, and Sunday is Father's Day, so I will be keeping him for the day, returning him to his mom after dinner.

Other than those tidbits of nothingness, there is no other information to pass on at this time. I'm sitting at work waiting for 7 pm to arrive, so that I can sit down with my sweetheart and have some dinner. I'll also get to vent to her for a bit, which should ease the load on my shoulders just a bit. Then I'm back on the clock until 10 pm.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Post Birthday Blues

Actually, the fact that I'm now fifty-years-old probably hasn't truly sunk in yet. I'm more blue, because my long weekend is now over, and I'm back to yearning for the weekend. I finished reading American Subversive during my break, and I still haven't been able to settle on a new book yet. I've been reading introductions, prefaces and forwards in an attempt to find something to grab me. I had three books come in that I had ordered, so I may just read one of those next.

It would also be nice if the warm weather returned in time for my weekend. My son has been with his mother all week, and I will not see him this week until late Saturday. It doesn't take very long to miss the little guy when he's away. I talked to him briefly today. He's been staying on the peninsula with my ex's family. He told me that he didn't see any crabs, but he did eat some.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Birthdays and Getaways

I have yet to find the fine print in my contract that allows me to avoid my 50th birthday. There is only one way and that's to stop having birthdays altogether, and I'm not ready to pull the curtains yet. I just met the love of my life a mere two years ago, after two practice marriages. I also have an abundance of books in my library to be read, so I'm hoping that my vision will not fail me in the next thirty years, and I'll be able to make a dent in these stacks that surround me.

I guess morbidity is a natural side topic when it comes to having been around fifty years. If the sun would return in a serious way then life would seem more vibrant. "They" are predicting sunshine and warmth beginning Saturday, and my love and I are going away (a few miles) starting Sunday. There is a possibility that our room will be upgraded to a suite. A suite with an outdoor patio, high above the crazies below. It all sounds like the perfect ingredients for a few days of rest, reading, and relaxation.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Counting Down

It's Monday and the only thing on my mind is the fact that I will have next Monday off. It's the first thing I thought about his morning, when I had to drag myself out of bed to go to work by 10 am . . . on Memorial Day! At least I'll be getting time and a half out of the deal. That will help next week when I take two days off without pay.

Next weekend I will also be turning 50-years-old. I could say that next week I will be celebrating my 50th birthday, but do people really celebrate a number as high as 50? I'd rather look forward to the fact that I will have a few days off, and will probably take in a few movies at the film festival, get a substantial amount of reading done, and set a new personal record for spooning with the love of my life.

Right now I am counting down the minutes until 6:30 pm, when I can leave my place of employment, eat some dinner, and settle down for the evening to read My American Unhappiness by Dean Bakopoulos, and possibly even finish it.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Yin and Yang

We have been blessed with both sunshine and rainfall today. In fact, while I was walking to work, wearing my sunglasses against the glare, I was also getting rained upon. I felt like Darren in an old episode of "Bewitched" when he's cursed with a little black cloud following him around all day, and continuously soaking him.

Other than the mixed message from the weather, it has been a fine day. It's rather slow in the bookstore, and I would enjoy nothing more than having some time to read at the moment. I really starting to enjoy My American Happiness by Dean Bakopoulos, and I'm feeling cheated by not being able to just sit and get immersed in this novel. I may end up making it my next staff pick if the quality is maintained. We have two hardcover copies in the store, and I fear that we will not sell a copy without someone to promote it.

My son is at my house, and I'll be seeing him for dinner. He stays with us from Thursday afternoon through Sunday afternoon. This Saturday we'll be attending a production of Mary Poppins. Justin has been singing songs from the movie ever since he watched it a month ago. He'll probably still be singing songs from the production for the next couple of weeks. It could be worse.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tired or Spent?

It's Wednesday. Hump Day. Mid-week. Here I am, writing some trivial banalities before I have to leave for work. Last night I finished reading the George Pelecanos crime novel that I had been immersed in for the last few days. Last night I committed to reading My American Unhappiness by Dean Bakopoulos. I really enjoyed his debut novel, Please Don't Come Back from the Moon. I thought it was a fine coming-of-age novel, of which there are certainly plenty out there. His second novel seems to deal with the more adult issues of finding the perfect mate, and beginning a family in order to obtain some semblance of happiness. I hope that the novel pleasantly surprises me, but for some reason I don't have high expectations. I just need to get a few chapters in, sop that I can have a better feel for the book.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Just Another Monday

The Seattle skies are threatening to rain again. It was pretty overcast all weekend and it sure would be nice if the sun decided to grace our presence once again, especially during my lunch hour this afternoon. I'll probably end up at the bagel shop once again, but my imagination cannot come up with any place new.

I have just under one hundred pages left to read in Shame the Devil by George Pelecanos. It would read like a standard mystery/thriller except Pelecanos decided to spend time on the victims' families and how they try and deal with the aftermath of a multiple slaying. It puts a different spin on the way mysteries are usually told. Even though I'm enjoying the Pelecanos, I'm still hoping to finish is tonight, so that I can start yet another book. There's no end.

I saw "Queen to Play" (Joueuse)over the weekend, starring Sandra Bonnaire, and Kevin Kline. It was a refreshing film about a woman finding her own way mid-life. She decides to take up the game of chess, against the better judgement of her family, who at first think she's having an affair. A wonderfully intelligent film about friendships, mentors, and the act of giving.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Reading Queue

Yesterday I started reading George Pelecanos' Shame the Devil. I need some page-turning excitement after reading three somewhat literary novels. As always, I have so many books that I want to get to (before I die!) I just found out that the author of the new memoir, The End of Boys will be doing a reading at our store at the end of June. I was already interested in the book, but now I have a reason to read it in a more timely manner. I'm also quite anxious to read Doc by Mary Doria Russell, an historical novel about, you guessed it, Doc Holliday. Lately I have had a few customers recommend a book called Fire Season: Field Notes From a Wilderness Lookout by Philip Connors. The topic immediately brings to mind Black Sun by Edward Abbey, which is his fictionalization of his season spent in a fire lookout. So many good books to read. If only I was paid to read rather than sell books.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sneaking in a Post

Once again, I am taking a few minutes out of my work day to post. The bookstore has been particularly quiet today due to the second straight day of sunshine. There's talk that there may even be a third straight day of pleasant spring weather. One can only hope.

Tonight at the bookstore we are hosting an author event. It's kind of a self-help, inspirational gift book that is being compared to Dr. Seuss's Oh, the Places You'll Go, and Anna Quindlen's A Short Guide to a Happy Life, (which I once heard perfectly described as a "rice cake" of a book.) With this nice weather outside, it may be a chore to get people inside to listen to a book talk, but we'll keep our fingers crossed.

I have plans to buy a couple of books tonight. Some days it's just a moral
imperative. Today I will bring home new copies of The Influencing Machine by Brooke Gladstone and The End of Boys by Peter Brown Hoffmeister. One book is about the evil influence of corporate media, and the other is about a boy, who grows up dealing with severe emotional issues, and the struggle to maintain a normal life. The latter books sounds both heartbreaking and inspiring. The book on corporate media just sounds depressing.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Curling is Fun!

I always thought I would enjoy curling. It's so odd, yet compelling. I would say though, that this Canadian commercial from 1986 actually dampens my enthusiasm.

Time for a Quickie

Oh, it's late -- or it's early, depending on your point of view. My point of view, at the moment, is pointing towards the late side. I do not have to be at work until two in the afternoon, but I have a doctor's appointment at eleven tomorrow morning. It's just a six month recheck. I'm hoping that my cholesterol has not risen any higher. I'm already on medication for my (slightly) high blood pressure, and I will be turning the dreaded 50 in just under a month. I don't need another medication added on to my regime. The next thing you know, I'll have one of the weekly pill organizers to keep it all straight.

Yes, Fifty-years-old is just around the corner for me. Currently, my Significant Other and I are planning on staying a few evenings in the university district, just south of us. The film festival will be in full swing, and, due to our east coast trip last year, we didn't attend any showings at all in 2010. This year we are hoping to make up the difference. Being at a hotel in the university district puts us within walking distance of at least four movie theaters, three bookstores, and a number of decent restaurants.

It is quickly becoming concert season. I was lucky enough to score a ticket to the Weezer Memories tour, which will be pulling into the WAMU theater in August. I have been wanting to see Weezer for years, and I will finally get my chance this summer. I will be taking my stepson with me, which will be fun, since he is also a fan of their music. Weezer has cross-generational appeal.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Grey Skies Once Again

Grey skies have returned once again to remind us all that this is Seattle after all. Seattle, as opposed to say Aruba. I rather be supine on a sandy beach, deeply into a big fat novel. Instead, I'm going in to sell novels to people wealthy enough to go to warm climes at this time of year.

Speaking of novels, I'm nearly finished with Zadie Smith's On Beauty. What a fabulous read. It's the tale of a big messy family, with lots of academia to go around. It's been nice to read two literary novels in a row. I've already pledged to read Howard's End next, because of its connection to Smith's On Beauty. I saw the film years ago, but all I remember is Anthony Hopkin's stolid visage.

* * * *

In other news: Osama Bin Laden was killed last weekend by U.S. special forces. You don't even have to strain your hearing to hear the nutcases on the right claiming conspiracies. Sarah Palin thinks we should shove the pictures of the dead terrorist into the faces of the world as a warning. Maybe instead we should shop Sarah Palin's photo around the world as a warning against becoming an ignorant American? She's certainly not doing us any favors with her own folksy brand of stupidity. She quit college. She resigned as Governor of the least populous state in the union. What a shining example of incompetence. As if the president (or anyone with any sense) would take any advice from the quitter known as Sarah.

I also heard that John McCain has already signed up for the first debate between possible Republican nominees. Shouldn't his debate be taking place during leisure hour at the local Arizona old folks home? He cannot seriously think that people would still consider him serious candidate. I mean . . . He is the candidate who picked Sarah ("I give Alaskans a bad name") Palin as his running mate. Shouldn't that automatically disqualify him from making any serious decisions in the future? He obviously is around the bend, and should probably be sitting in front of the television ranting at "Murder She Wrote" reruns.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Still Monday?

It still feels like a Monday. The sun is doing its best to break through the clouds and warm the hearts of the little people down here. I'm one of those, who could use his heart warmed. I called my son, because I needed to hear a friendly voice. Too bad I couldn't just leave work and hang out with him for a while. His smile and cheery outlook would probably do me a world of good.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sick Days

The sun is breaking through the clouds, which may also indicate that my illness is passing. I took a serious sick day yesterday, considering that I had retched immediately after breakfast on Sunday and was down for the count, only eating some chicken soup Monday evening. Whatever virus infected my bloodstream now seems to be lifting. I took today off as an added cushion against this bug hanging around longer than it rightly should.

The better part of feeling on the mend today was being able to finish the Scott Spencer novel I had been reading. There's nothing worse than feeling so sick that you cannot even read! I'm now planning on diving right into Zadie Smith's On Beauty. It's been a while since I have read a couple of meaty literary novels successively. I've been reading philosophy, and sprinkling in some page-turning thrillers. It will be nice to start making a dent into the fiction on the shelves that surround me.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thirsty Thursday

Well, I'm not thirsty per se, but I am going to lunch soon. I'll probably be able to slake any thirst I may have at that point. The highlight will be seeing my son, who I haven't seen since Sunday. I'll be having lunch with him before I head into work for the evening.

It's still rainy and gray outside. Spring is holding off I guess. Maybe the residents of Seattle haven't been well behaved this past winter, and we are being made to wait until summer to enjoy spring. Maybe...

Anyway, here is a video of Cake, singing "Sick of You."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Page Turning as a Hobby

I have about a page and a half left to read in Bertrand Russell's The Problems of Philosophy. For the most part, I tackled the Russell, because it's only 160 pages long, and it seemed like an important philosophical work to have read. Tonight (or more likely tomorrow) I'll be starting Gone 'til November by Wallace Stroby. I'm expecting something along the line of Elmore Leonard; rich characters, realistic dialogue and a compelling storyline. It may be time to read two or three novels back to back even though I'm enjoying the philosophy that I have been reading lately.

My son is battling pneumonia this week. He'll be arriving for his stay at daddy's house tomorrow, and I'm hoping that a few days worth of antibiotics will have him well on down the road to recovery. The warm days are nearly here, so we all need to be healthy to enjoy some outside time.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A New Day

I took a "fashion risk" and had my taxes down at H & R Block today. I had preliminarily done my own taxes on Turbo-Tax, and it looked like I was going to owe just over $300, which is a substantial amount to a lowly bookstore employee. I figured that I didn't have anything to lose by having a professional do my taxes. I was glad that I made that decision, because now I'm actually going to get a substantial amount back. Of course, it will all go to pay bills (like ex-wife, car insurance and other minor annoyances.) Maybe I can actually manage to get myself an object or two that I have been desiring, like a small laptop with which to write on the go. Anyway, my refund news brightened up my day, which is good considering that it's still gray and rainy here in Seattle.

On to other subjects. Even I'm sick of my whining about debts. How about you? I still set aside more books at work than I have space for at home. It's an addiction that I cannot gripe about too much. I love books too much to ever think of them in a negative light. I met two people yesterday at the used book counter that are in the same boat that I am. They were recently divorced and are now having to downsize their libraries. It's not an easy task, but there is something satisfying about weeding out books that I will probably never read, and holding on to the more important and noteworthy works. Stuff that I need to read before I kick the proverbial bucket.

So last night I bought Queer by William S. Burroughs, Boxcar Bertha,Fatelessness by Imre Kertész, and Habitations of the Word by William H. Gass. I still have lofty goals when it comes to my reading. I'm in the midst of my second philosophy book in a month. I continually feel the need to keep my brain alive, and challenged. I do that by thinking about nearly unthinkable concepts like reality. I still enjoy the periodic mystery/thriller though. Nothing like a good page turner to while away the hours.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Speaking of Reality

Here is a bonus video. A little tour through the known universe.

The Real Me

Reality . . . What a concept. Sometimes the real me comes out. It's just unavoidable. No matter how I try and distract my mind with fiction, philosophy, or foolishness, I still end up being the ultimate misanthrope. I have a hatred for the mainstream stupidity that our society seem to breed in its citizens. Of course, people themselves have a responsibility to educate themselves; to avoid continually walking around in a daze. Most folks just want to get by, seeking out what pleasures they can, on the way to the grave. I actually get envious that simple people get joy from such inanities as football, American Idol, or just plain staying out on Friday nights and drinking until you fall down. Instead I fret and agonize over petty shit that cannot be changed by me. Not no way, not no how.

So, tonight I bitch, because I'm frustrated and still a day away from payday. The wolves are still howling at the door for their just due. I just hope that they don't decide to add interest to my already late bills. If they do I'll just regale them with the old adage: You can't get blood from a stone. Then they may try and prove me wrong. Who knows? Maybe you can get blood from a stone. Stranger things have happened.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lurching Towards Mid-Week

Well, maybe not lurching so much as shuffling along. It's one of those slow work weeks. I can tell, because it's only Tuesday. It really should be Friday by now. Besides the fact that Friday is payday, and I have bill collectors patiently waiting (yeah, right!) for my payments.

I walked to work today, which is becoming a nice habit, but today the bitter wind was pushing me back towards home. I had to fight against the frigid breeze to make it to work, and then, once I was there, I wondered why. But without any sick days or vacation time, I'll most likely be at work five days a week for the foreseeable future.

I've been in quite the ranting mood, but without the angry energy to jot all those fuming thoughts down. Mostly I just have more complaints about Idiot America. I swear that they are now publishing books for non-readers. Today we actually received a copy of book about the "barefoot bandit." You remember the goober, who had a blast stealing boats and such from vacationers in the Caribbean. He became a minor celebrity here in the U.S.. Now there is actually a book about his misadventures. You can be sure that there are plenty of pictures.

I'm veering away from mainstream media by no longer watching television (although I'm already missing baseball, and the season has not started yet), and I am no using Gmail, rather than that godawful Comcast. When I used to check my email on I was besieged by their idea of news headlines. They usually amounted to celebrity gossip. What passes for news in this country makes me nauseous, and if I want to find out what's going on in the world I'll check in with the BBC, or some other outlet that doesn't have cleavage and celebrity's babies on their minds. Oh, that reminds me: Gwyneth Paltrow has a new cookbook out. She now joins other celebs like Alicia Silverstone, who impart their culinary wisdom upon us burger eaters out here.

I wish that there was a reason for me to go out on the deck and look at the moon tonight, but I have a feeling that it's hiding it's yellow face anyway. Maybe by the weekend I can commune with nature by doing a little stargazing.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Being Old . . .

I think that being old(er) should bring with it certain privileges. That is besides getting the senior rate at the cinema. I will be turning 50 this June, and I have decided that I'm going to take considerably less shit from other human beings that I have typically in the past. Take customers for instance: I work in a bookstore, and I deal with idiots on a daily basis. (You would think that the act of reading would make some of these folks a little less of an idiot, but you would be wrong.) Some people want to know where our nonfiction section is. Some people want to know how we organize our fiction. (By spine color don't you know.)

Just a few minutes ago I dealt with an idiot on the phone. He was inquiring about a book that he was told would be in today. In the meantime, I informed him that he already had a set of Elmo books on the hold shelf that he had ordered. He actually got gruff with me. He didn't know anything about any Elmo books. Well, maybe he should pull his head out of his posterior and pay a little bit more attention to the damage he's doing, going around ordering books for his brats and then forgetting all about them.

It is starting to appear that the only time I have to write blog posts is while I am at work. Not a good sign really. I should be much busier at work than I am. And I should be able to carve out an hour or two here and there at home to do things like writing my blog.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Lucky Day or Karma?

Today was an interesting day. First off there was this large yellow orb in the sky that was blanketing the emerald city with sun and warmth. Maybe not enough warmth, but warmer than it has been in a while. I quite enjoyed my walk to work, and even sat in the sun and read for a while before starting my shift at the bookstore.

The karmic question come into play this afternoon. A woman came in to sell used books today, and right on top of her stack was the new hardcover biography of the artist Chuck Close. I've always been a fan of his work, but never quite rich enough to buy a nice book of his work. I asked, "Oh, your trading in that nice Chuck Close book?" She then offered it to me. I of course said, "No, no." But she insisted that I couldn't say no, because she already gave it to me. I was stunned. Then to top it off: she never came back to settle up for the books that she did sell to the store. I thought back to last week, when I helped a woman working for the Seattle public utilities close off a water valve before I went to work. Today I helped a handicapped man make his way into the bagel shop. Was my Chuck Close gift due to me practicing a few random acts of kindness?

The fact is that I put no thought into helping the people who need it. It just seems like common sense to me. Somehow I'm able to empathize with their predicament and reach out to help. What I don't understand is that segment of the public that casts a cold, dispassionate eye to those in need. The Chuck Close book was a pleasant surprise, but I will not help others with the notion that there might be an expensive art book in my future for helping.

Well, I'm still at work. I'm doing the last hour and a half solo, because one of my co-workers is doing her big rock star tour for the next six weeks. I don't mind closing by myself, because it's usually quite mellow here for the last hour, and I get to play my music. So far it's been The Grateful Dead, followed by George Duke. Eclectic I am.

Sunshine Sweet Sunshine

Another day when walking to work just makes sense. The sun is out in all its glory, and I'm to go strolling to work, and hopefully soak up some of its warmth at the same time. I guess I'm going to the bagel shop once again, but I'm more in the mood for a Rain City burger. I don't walk that far out my way though. I hope that the sunshine graces our presence again this weekend, so that my son and I can play at the nearby park.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Oh My Gosh!

It's already March 21st! St. Patrick's Day just blew by me like a hurricane. I am now in the midst of March. My blogging has been sporadic at best, and I seem to just be waiting around for spring. Oh, that's tomorrow, isn't it? Well, I'd like the weather that is usually associated with spring to arrive, and hang out for a while.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Ten Till Nine

Yes, it's ten minutes until nine o'clock, which in the bookstore means that it's about time to close one of the register and begin the big countdown till closing. I was originally supposed to work the 9 to 5:30 shift today, but certain people in charge forgot that they gave one of the night staff the evening off. That translates to an early morning call to me to see if I would work that evening shift. At eight o'clock this morning, sleeping in seemed like the best idea in the world. In fact, I lounged around in bed until past 12:30 pm. Now I'm ready for some downtime at home after work, which will mean reading with my compatriot; the love of my life.

The family that reads together gets smart together, which is not a bad thing. I just started The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman, and I'm excited to get back to it. The novel is actually comprised a series of interconnected short stories. The obvious commonality is that all the characters work for the same international English-language newspaper. It's a nice change of pace from some of the recent stuff I've been reading (i.e. mysteries/thrillers.)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

On the Mend, or Just Around the Bend

It felt like a new day just to be able to report to work this afternoon. And I wasn't backed up with books to shelve from the past few days. It was a mellow day at the bookstore, but I'm not complaining, because I'm still on the mend. We had an event tonight for a book about the heart called The Sublime Engine, by Stephen and Thomas Amidon. The turnout was light, but wealthy, since we sold at least a dozen copies. My boss left right after the event, but then so did most of our customers, so it was okay flying solo for the last hour. If only I had brought in my iPod, so that I could groove on my own tunes for the short evening.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Burden of Taxes

Why do I have to be one of those fools, who has failed to have enough federal income taxes withheld throughout the year? Like most fools, I have been looking forward to a return of some sort. Last year I didn't get to claim my son, or I would have gotten about $1,700 back. This year I'm filing for a full year of work at the bookstore (believe me, that shouldn't put me into a higher tax bracket.)But I get to claim my son for the whole year. So far it looks like that exemption will have me only owing the federal government just over $300. Sometimes it's easy to see why the working poor fall for mortgaging scams and lottery tickets. It's understandable why some hardworking folks with a dismal future would turn to drink or less corporate forms of drugs.

So, is the above paragraph my excuse for not blogging for two weeks? No, although I've certainly been under the weather for the past two weeks straight. This is the second day in the row that I've stayed out of work sick. I've been battling a fever for the last couple of nights, tossing and turning in a sweat-soaked sleep.

Maybe being slung down with a virus has caused my absenteeism from my blog. But no. There have been many a night when I have looked at the blank post page, searching for nonlethal words to compile some trivial post. Sometimes I have the urge to write too much, reveal too much and then burrow back into my hole. But revelation has never been my strong suit. I'd rather give subtle hints about my woes, like circling the drain.

I'm about to take a little trip to see my son give his show-and-tell presentation and his pre-school. Just seeing him, and hanging out with him for a bit will remind me of my priorities, and should put some semblance of a smile back on my face.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Noise Pollution

So, here's the deal. I work in an independent bookstore in Seattle, and within this building there is also a restaurant. The restaurant closes at 9 pm, and the bookstore closes at 10 pm. The problem ends up being when the restaurant manager goes home, the little kiddies back there crank up their whiny acne-riddled music. They have been told by multiple authorities that the music must stay at a reasonable volume until the bookstore is close. I am personally tired of being the mean old man and telling them something they already know. I'm tired of the Rude Generation, and their indifference to the world.

It's never a good thing to have someone else's musical tastes shoved into your senses like some kind of earwig. I love country music, but there was a time when I worked next to a loading dock, and the cigarette-smoking harlot (and I mean that in the nicest way) that worked there kept her radio nailed to the local country station all day long. When I left work the last type of music I would want to hear would be country. In fact, I usually needed to feed myself some heavy metal to cleanse my audio palette.

In other words, my quiet evening at the bookstore has been disturbed by the rudeness of youthful kitchen help, with no sense of decency.

Ready for Spring

Lately the sun has been making more appearances. There has even been a bit of accompanying warmth. I am so ready for an extended period of sunshine. I'm ready to soak up some photons. In the meantime, it is once again Wednesday, which means the halfway mark of the work week. This week my son Justin arrives a day early, which is good, because I was missing his cuteness. Before then I get to run to the library (one mystery novel and one Hits-of-the-Eighties CD), and stop off at Bagel Oasis for some lunch. I may even have enough time to get some reading done before work.

I'm nearly done reading Bill James first book in the Colin Harpur mystery series. It's quirky and interesting, but it should read much quicker for a 150 page crime caper. My next book (the library loan) is also a British mystery/thriller. I'm expecting it to be a brisk entertainment, and then it's time to read something more substantial . . . a little philosophy maybe.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Vacation Wanted - Apply Within

Are you a sunny beach somewhere in the tropics? Or maybe just a cozy getaway cabin nestled amidst the Olympic Mountain range? It doesn't really matter. I am in need of a vacation, and I am taking all applicants. If you are a quiet vacation spot, that is a big plus. Also, free WI-FI is nice, but certainly not necessary. I'm willing to be out of the loop for the duration of the vacation. I can do without the cheesy headlines on the Comcast homepage, as I log in to check my email, which is usually just from some political group, asking for donations. I don't even need donations, just a vacation. No painful suppuration, just a vacation. I'm particularly looking for a relaxation vacation.

Other than being in need of some quiet downtime (preferably with a loved one, and a bag full of books) like goes on as usual. Tomorrow night at the bookstore we are expecting a crowed event for author Claire Dederer, who has just published the memoir-ish Poser. We'll have to shift a few display tables around for this one, so that we can fit a few in a few extra chairs.

I finished reading the latest novel by Jim Krusoe tonight. It's being released by Tin House books in April, and I gather that it's the concluding book in his trilogy dealing with death, and our attempt to connect with the other side. Krusoe's books are bizarre, funny, and unlike most fiction you've ever read. He brings to mind Matthew Sharpe, author of The Sleeping Father. They share a similar warped sense of humor, which meshes perfectly with my own sense of humor.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Midweek Once Again

The big midpoint of the week, as workers lurch from one weekend to the next. It is the season of the football playoffs, so the mindless workers are even more excited about the weekends now. The Seahawks and the Patriots have already lost their playoffs, so my people are already in the doldrums. And I see the the Super Bowl pregame show being hyped is the first time interview that President Barack Obama has granted to that over-sized cockroach, Bill O'Reilly. I hope that Obama wears his shit house waders, because it's going to get deep.

My boss is off to Washington, D.C., for some bookseller conference. It's nice when the boss is away, but I'd much rather work with my boss then some of my co-workers though. Oh, I inherited the mystery section this week. Things have been rather slow at work, so I welcome the chance to do the upkeep on another section. Besides, I like mysteries.

Other than those tidbits, it's been a standard sort of work week. We were busy on Monday due to the MLK holiday, but mainly at the used book counter. Lots of folks trading in the old to make room for the new. My dad celebrated his 90th birthday last Sunday (even though his actual birthday is on the 22nd.) It landmark birthday only served to remind me that I turn the big 50 this year. Oh Goody!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

New Rules

Leave to Bill Maher to tell it like it is.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Middle

It is the middle of the week. "The Middle" is also the name of a song by Jimmy Eat World that my four-year-old son begs me to play at least a half dozen times when he is over. He calls it the "elvin, elvin" song. I was going to post the music video in honor of my son, but Youtube is not cooperating today.

I'm back to my 2 pm to 10:30 pm shift today. Actually, I only work that shift on Wednesdays and Thursdays now. I guess ultimately I would like to work day shifts throughout the week. That would leave my evenings free for fun stuff like concerts and movies, or just staying home with my Significant Other.

I cannot even bear to look at the headlines these days. It only confirms my belief that America leads the world in one more thing: the number of crazy lunatics walking around with guns. There are actually geographically beautiful sections of Arizona. I've spent some nice time in the desert and mountains there,but you will not find me going back there any time soon. I've not even heard a peep from that harpy of a governor since the shooting over the weekend. Next time I want to visit the Southwest, I'll take a trip to New Mexico instead of fascistic Arizona.

Well, I was able to get the Jimmy Eat World video from their official site, so here is my son's new favorite. He just loves to dance to this.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Need for Quiet

Here I am today with a head full of vitriol, and my duty is customer service today. I have to be nice to people even when every fiber of my being pushes in the opposite direction. And I'm probably starting my worst shift of the week: 11 am to 7:30 pm. Right in the meat of the day.

I am in the mood to rant, but feel like I better bite my tongue today.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Sunshiny Day

A judge in Texas just sentenced former senator Tom Delay to three years in jail. A smile instantly appeared on my face. Maybe now we will not see Delay's smug puss on Hardball for a while.

I Want, I Want . . .

I want to go home and read with a renewed fervor. I want to clear my head of all unnecessary clutter. (A little Feng Shui for the mind.) I want a plethora of free time with my loved ones. I want a bank account that never dips into the negative. I want my son to grow up and be a nice, smart and conscientious man. I want the nutjobs on the right wing of America's political spectrum to return to their mother's basments, and never show their ugly racist faces in public again. (A little much to ask, I realize.) I want to have no wants (very Zen of me.)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Behind the Time

Agh! It's already January 5th and I haven't posted since last year sometime. No end-0f-the-year messages, or "Best of" lists. No special greetings. I'm just out of the loop. That's what happens when one works in retail over the winter holidays: You get burnt-out with the whole holiday thing, and just start looking forward to spring.

I'll be dropping Justin at his co-op class in just over an hour. We had him last night, because his mom was working an extra shift. Now he will not be back until late Saturday. And he thinks he's confused by this sudden changes.

We're still planning on our trip to Sparks, NV, in late February. Right now I'm wondering why we didn't get tickets to Jamaica instead. I'm sure saving a few thousand dollars up front had something to do with it. It should be at least a little bit warmer in Nevada in February than it will be in Seattle then.

So, I managed to squeak out a post during the first week of 2011. Now back to real life.