Monday, January 09, 2006

dear everyone,

as you may have guessed, 42short is officially put to bed.

i recently started a media log of sorts over this way. the format should look very familiar. it will help me keep track of what i'm consuming. i'll throw in an occasional list to keep things interesting.

if you go in for that sort of thing, please come visit. test out the links. test out the comments. leave suggestions for movies or music or books.

the sidebar is still under renovation, but i am accepting visitors.

if that does not sound like your cup of tea, thanks for reading 42short while she lasted.

your pal,
james

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

once a month there is a large antique fair just north of town. the term antique is, in this case, applied very loosely. for every booth featuring estate sale jewelry or civil war memorabilia or entire sets of depression glass, there are five booths with alf trading cards and space shuttle patches and plastic tupperware boxes full of buttons and rusty pocketknives.

in short, it is exactly my kind of antique fair. nice things to admire that i'll likely never be able to afford, surrounded by tons of kitschy shit for me to spend hours pawing at.

on sunday, i stopped at one wooden table and stood before a large ceramic/plaster thing--a stylized gold sunburst in the middle of which was a bust of jesus. for those who don't know, i like that sort of thing. the face was a little bit scratched and dirty but, you know, i think a savior should look a little road-weary. it makes him more realistic.

i hefted the thing, turning it this way and that, looking for a little price tag. finding none, i brought it to an oafish man who sat on and over and around a chair twenty-feet away. he was selling everything under the tent. there was my jesus but also can openers and army metals and serving platters with bridges painted on them.

i said, how much?

he said, i'll give it to you for twelve.

i would have easily paid twenty bucks. it was a pretty substantial-looking thing, like a real-live church went out of business and everything must go!

as i was digging my money out, thinking things couldn't get any better, he said, it's twelve dollars for the set. mary's over on the end of that table.

i was so happy.

i also left with twenty black and white photographs, most taken in the 1940s, members of an unfortunate-looking family at home and on vacation in florida.

the other cool thing i found (but did not shell out $100 for) was a 1950s poster from a tammy wynette/george jones concert here in charlotte.

maybe next month, i can talk him down to fifty.

last seen: coal miner's daughter, sexy beast, the spaghetti west
last heard: scout niblett 'safety pants'
last read: My other option is to move into a high rise downtown this summer when my lease is up and trick that shit out to look Doris Day's apartment in Pillow Talk.
bonus: Since I was a kid I've always been a little over sensitive to the glorification and rewarding of dumb.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

so much has happened since the last time i checked in. my hair is long now and i've adopted a child from a breakaway republic. i dress him exactly like me and we're working on a softshoe routine set to me and my shadow. not really, but things have happened. yes, things.

first off, a confession. i recently joined the masses who start and quit NaNoWriMo. i felt terrible and dirty and ashamed for a few days, but i did manage to crank out 50 pages that i don't hate. 50 pages is more than i've ever written on any one idea. longer even than that appeal for clemency that i wrote from an airless cell in topeka those many years ago. the best part about quitting NaNo is that there is time for movies and reading again. i was starting to get the shakes.

the certain young lady and i met a few of my favorite people for dinner last week and then attended the ted leo show. laura ballance stood not far from us as the opening band played. *sigh* girl rock stars make my stomach warm.

thanksgiving was food-coma-tastic. i think i had 3 different kinds of cake or pie, proving once again why it is my favorite holiday. every year, some lame holiday tries to claw its way, tired and bloody, back up the ropes to a standing position, but thanksgiving, wearing its ferocious luchador mask, flies off the top rope and plants an elbow into the neck of 4th of july or christmas.

last seen: lipstick and dynamite, margaret cho: assassin, kingdom of heaven, walk the line (twice), sweet dreams
last heard: lou donaldson good gracious [editor's note: this is one of my favorite album covers. it makes me smile every time i see it. more blue note cover art on view here.]
last read: Nek Chand spent 18 years secretly building a dreamlike 40-acre visionary rock garden in the jungle outside Chandigarh, India.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

there are not many opportunities for creativity in the life of a librarian unless you count naming cats or picking out a new chain to hold your eyeglasses around your neck.

making book displays is one of our few creative outlets and even that can be kind of hit-or-miss.

sometimes inspiration will strike. over the summer, i named my display after a modest mouse album and selected titles about horrific plagues, engineering disasters and acts of god like krakatoa. not one book was checked out even though i picked cool titles and my signs were bitchin.

november is the exact opposite. pressed for time last week, i wandered the stacks, turned to the left at random and ahhh, true crime, it is. picked out some books, stole some photos from the internet for my signs--joe friday, detective steve mcgarrett, sam spade--and threw everything up on the shelves. (lapse time: 15 minutes)

dang. people like some true crime. i can't keep that display filled.

since librarians are all about fair and balanced, i made sure to put books out about white collar criminals as well as garden-variety murderers. i don't want anyone saying i'm biased when it comes to picking out books about crime.

last seen: jarhead
last heard: ted leo and the pharmacists 'counting down the hours' [editor's note: dear triangle-area folks, a certain young lady and i will be seeing ted leo at cat's on monday night. won't you join us for dinner and/or pie at elmo's beforehand? we'll be there around 8:30. your pal, james]
last read: The legislation would strip people injured by vaccines of their right to sue manufacturers and would virtually eliminate pharmaceutical corporate accountability. The legislation would also make the newly created Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency the only federal agency exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.
reading: studs terkel hope dies last

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Blog, bitch. --ed

the missive above, left by a friend in the comments to my previous post, nudged me from hermitude. while it is true that i've neglected this space, i have been writing quite a lot. i'm still tear-assing through the NaNo thing, but i will admit to a (texas-sized) lull in productivity these past few days. the first week was cake, but the real work started in week two.

it hasn't been all drugdery, however, i did take time to volunteer on saturday. for the fourth year in a row, i participated in hands on charlotte day. my project this year involved landscaping at a middle school. i used a pick-axe and spread pine needles and worked an auger which nearly ripped my arms off. it was awesome.

the best part was the gum pole that we discovered near a classroom. it was your standard-issue brown telephone pole, but this one had over a hundred pieces of chewed gum, all different colors, stuck to it. pure genius and beautiful to boot. i imagined a middle school gang initiation whereby students were forced to lick the pole. either that or they continually pushed unsuspecting colleagues into it as they ambled by. if you ask me, that's the joke that never stops being funny.

sunday was a lecture by ira glass. wednesday, a basketball game at the new arena. all of the other days in between were peppered with get-to-know-you time with a certain young lady.

work is fine. i have to say that one of the most surreal parts of working in a library that is connected to an urban high school is marching band practice.

my office is near the back of the building, right beside a pair of emergency exit doors that open onto the practice field. picture drumline outside your office door every afternoon and you have my life. some folks might complain. they just don't appreciate 76 trombones kicking sweet soul jamz as much as i do.

last seen: mad hot ballroom, capote, last days
last heard: the velvet underground 'after hours'
last read: A national security letter...the records it gathers describe where a person makes and spends money, with whom he lives and lived before, how much he gambles, what he buys online, what he pawns and borrows, where he travels, how he invests, what he searches for and reads on the Web, and who telephones or e-mails him at home and at work.
housekeeping: you might notice the absence of pop-ups which plagued this space. killing my stat counter seems to have solved the problem.

Monday, October 31, 2005

there must be some kind of equation. it has variables which i am not privy to. it includes things like dew point and wind speed and day of the week. written on a blackboard, sine waves would be involved, and brackets. almost certainly, brackets. it is the equation for determining the amount of candy to purchase, when X equals the number of children who will be visiting one's apartment on halloween night.

also, i just need to say vector here. i'm not even sure if it's appropriate. yes...vector.

one year, i purchased candy and i ran out before the end of the night. i managed to cut the front light and escape out the backdoor during that lull. you know, the one between shifts.

little kids retreating to moms and dads who wait at the curb. tiny faces yawning. tiny fists handing over pillowcases, too heavy for chubby arms to carry.

down the block, at that same moment, second shift begins. teenagers and young twenty-somethings sit on the hoods of parked cars. masks pushed back on their foreheads. they inhale one last time. they flick their cigarette butts at a passing car, then approach a row of quiet houses to begin the night's labor.

there was a short first shift this evening and no second shift.

i dropped four pieces of candy into the bag of a shy three-year-old tiger. her mother standing close by whispered, what do you say?

the tiger blew me a kiss. i blew her one back.

i am left with an enormous bowl of candy, still no closer to solving for X.

last seen: elizabethtown, love me if you dare, tumbleweeds, finding neverland
last heard: elliott smith 'a passing feeling'
last read: Say you're at a cocktail party wondering how many words end in -gry.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

the box was wedged between the screen door and the front door. so, this evening, when i pulled the heavy wooden interior door toward me, the springs on the screen shot the box back into the V formed by my two feet.

the address label said that it was from my niece.

lilly is quite advanced for a three-month-old, but her penmanship looked eerily like my sister's, so i had my doubts. that same feeling i would get when gifts appeared under the tree from SANTA. his handwriting was a spot-on match for my mom's.

besides, i know that lilly has limited motor skills at this point. i can almost buy neatly taping up a box, but driving herself to the post office? no dice. you have to get up pretty early in the morning, my friend.

still, i was happy to receive a box full of halloween candy and some recent photos.

last seen: good night, and good luck
last heard: death cab for cutie 'i will follow you into the dark'
last read: octavia butler kindred
reading: julia glass three junes
bonus: I will put you in my next film. Note: This film shall consist of 24 Polaroids of you and me in various states of canoodling, flipped in rapid succession.