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.
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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 thing...it'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 day...at 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.