Monday, August 29, 2005

months and months ago, my father gave me a bunch of suits he no longer wears. since he is taller than i am, i knew that a few of the suits would be tall-sized which is not something that tailors can fix. those jackets had to be donated to the salvation army.

the remaining suits were fixable, but i wasn't looking forward to it. the alterations would no doubt require time spent at a tailor, standing on a carpeted box surrounded by mirrors, trying clothes on over and over again in dressing rooms, an exercise i generally loathe.

if i'm going to stand in front of a mirror, i like it to be in the privacy of my own dank basement where i can reenact that little naked dance buffalo bill does in silence of the lambs.

so, i hung the too-big suits in the back of my closet next to my own too-small suits which needed to be let out to accomodate my recent bulk. the too-small suits were hanging in the closet for the same reasons listed above: not having the time, not wanting to deal with dressing rooms, not being able to do the naked dance.

finally, a week ago, i broke down and took my closet full of ill-fitting clothes to a local tailor. i kept most of the suits my father bequeathed, but decided to ditch a couple of double-breasted jackets. if you didn't know, double-breasted jackets make short men look like small tough meaty boxes.

i have enough trouble without looking like the kind of guy who will break your digits when you can't pay debts on time.

i picked everything up last friday in exchange for $85. on a meager public librarian's salary, that's some decent change, but now i have many, many suits and coats. i am prepared for interviews or blind dates or church socials or, if i turn the collars up, sleeping on park benches like a hobo.

last seen: johnny guitar, red eye, ridin' the rails, goodbye dragon inn
last heard: stereolab 'with friends like these'
last read: we were there for ten months and for nine months we didn't have a translator.

Friday, August 26, 2005

asta is the name of nick and nora's dog. it is also a frequently-used crossword puzzle clue. as in--four across. nick and nora's dog. the third letter is a T. i think it was tom who first shared this bit of trivia. maybe we were between calls, waiting for the phones to ring in telephone reference. maybe it was someone else entirely.

for many years, asta was the sum total of my thin man knowledge. that is, until the other night when i finally watched the film.

Nick: I'm a hero. I was shot 2 times in the Tribune.
Nora: I read where you were shot 5 times in the tabloids.
Nick: It's not true. He didn't come anywhere near my tabloids.

quick witty dialogue always does it for me. plus, the chance to stare at myrna loy for the duration doesn't hurt either. she makes my stomach feel funny.

last seen: the thin man, stroszek
last heard: chet baker 'i get along without you very well' [thanks christa]
last read: I don’t like books about women who shop. I don’t like “erotic thrillers.” I don't like books about families who go to foreign countries on vacation and then something terrible happens.
bonus: ...like picking faith hill up by the knees and using her to club someone

Monday, August 22, 2005

happiness is...

receiving a greeting card from your mother which contains money in it for no reason and also includes a little handwritten note with the parenthetical phrase--god, i miss drinking.

last heard: johnny cash 'rock island line'
last read: my theory was the nuns who were pacing back and forth represent the Catholic Legion of Decency patrolling Hollywood.
reading: charles baxter saul and patsy

Sunday, August 21, 2005

i'm back from no place. didn't leave town or any such thing, just been awfully busy with work and such like.

i made it to the knitters show.
a perk of resting on one's laurels after an event is that someone you know will probably pen a nice recap and save you the trouble. you can read ed's here. the only thing i would add is that exene kept lifting up her dress all night to cool off. it's a show in north carolina in mid-august. wearing woolen tights under your dress is not the best apparel choice.

i visited the speedway.
the five dollar admission price was worth it just to behold the track. there were races all night and finally the school buses. the spray-painted, steel behemoths fishtailed everytime they took turn two, rear wheels spinning as they sideswiped each other.
PS-race tracks are very loud. the other highlight of the evening? lugnut, the official mascot of the speedway, lumbering up the concrete stairs armed with a super soaker water gun. he must have known the family in front of us because he doused the grandpa's shirt and then unloaded the rest of his ammo into the crotch of the teenaged grandson. neither gentleman appeared upset. for all i know, you win a prize if lugnut shoots you in the crotch at the speedway.

i read for four hours today.
neglecting the netflix selections on my living room table, i sat down to read a bit of this thursday's book club title, plainsong; two-hundred-pages and one pot of coffee later, i finished the novel and exhaled contentedly. i usually read in half-hour blocks of time, so a four-hour stretch is impressive for me. the landscape in haruf's novel is stark and beautiful and he writes about small town life very well. it reminded me of the things i liked best about the year i lived in kansas.

last seen: broken flowers, DARYL
last heard: patsy cline 'never no more'
last read: kent haruf plainsong
bonus: In late June, Murfreesboro philanthropist Bob McLean pledged to make a restricted gift of approximately $l million to the Museum in order to enable the Museum to purchase the guitar. The $575,000.00 purchase was completed on August 5, 2004.

Monday, August 15, 2005

let's all agree on this one thing.

on the 14th of every month, we shall update our links and rip the collective band-aid off together. i held out for months and it was foolish. i kept avoiding the pain of erasing folks, many of whom had long since given up regular posting.

i finally updated my own list of links yesterday, which you may have noticed, prompted in part by rebecca who was nice enough to post a little note informing her readers that she was hanging up her hat.

deleting her after such a kind note made things much easier; however, for each of the others i considered backspacing over, it felt like i was about to shut a door in their face.

friends, it doesn't have to be like this and here's why.

you know how, with music, there are really only a handful of things you truly and honestly listen to over and over and over again, then there are things that you listen to everyday for about two months until they are replaced by some new and shiny thing?

well, it's the same with weblogs. our lists should be organic, like our tastes which shift and change. i'm not saying you should delete your closest friends, the ones who never post, but everyone else? keep only the stuff you still like to read.

why should you feel guilty if you stop reading a particular weblog? chances are you started reading two more thanks to that one.

it is...

[takes long, slow drag off of black cigarette holder]

...zee cycle of life. [exhale]

so, even though i am a complete stat whore and get all aflutter each time there is the slightest little jump because someone new has linked to me, (you do it, too. you big liar) i promise not to be hurt if you delete me. there i said it.

i never liked sitting over on your stinky sidebar anyway. just kidding, it was nice. the sheets were changed pretty regularly and i liked the magic fingers.

now you must pinky swear that you will not be hurt if, on the 14th, you amble over to someone's weblog and your name is missing. see that wasn't so bad. and if we all do it on the 14th, it will just become that thing we all do on the 14th, not some awful, painful chore.

ps- it's still the 14th somewhere, so tonight start gunning for the ones you've wanted to erase for so long. fly, my little delete-y birds, fly.

last heard: cinnamon 'me as helen of troy' [thanks pinky]
last read: The story of Anthony Cima is the book lover's nightmare: The 87-year-old stuffed 10,000 books into a one-room San Diego apartment, and when a 5.4-magnitude earthquake hit just off the coast of Oceanside in July 1986, he was buried beneath them and barely survived.
bonus: that's the kind of church for me -- a godless one.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

lately my days are all backwards. a normal person works, goes to bed early five days in a row and then, come friday, spends one night, maybe two, out late with friends.

last week, while apparently channeling my inner twenty-something, i went out four nights in a row. by the time my weekend arrived, i needed saturday and sunday just to regain my footing. true, i worked several noon-to-9 shifts last week, so getting up early was never an issue, but you have to admit, it's still kind of odd behavior for a grown-up.

this week looks to be just as bad, or exciting, depending upon your view.

some friends of mine plan to see the knitters on wednesday and i agreed to join them. it will all be new to me since i haven't heard the knitters before and never listened to the band's previous incarnation, X.

[i'm pretty sure that loud clank you just heard was my last remaining indie-cred point hitting the floor. just to make sure though...] the following is your official invitation to the week's other big event.

three words: SCHOOL...BUS...RACES

the hardee's summer shootout took place at lowe's motor speedway for the past six weeks; tuesday evening is championship night. according to the website, there will be School Bus racing plus a full racing card featuring Legends Cars, Bandolero Cars and Thunder Roadsters.

i don't know what all of that means but it only costs five bucks.

by the way, did i mention that GIGANTIC F-ING SCHOOL BUSES WILL BE RACING AND POSSIBLY CRASHING INTO EACH OTHER?

interested parties should email me.

last seen: guess who's coming to dinner, once upon a time in the west
last heard: jerry lee lewis 'matchbox'
last read: lorrie moore like life
reading: kent haruf plainsong

Thursday, August 11, 2005

here is why group work is mostly overrated.

you are put on a project with two other people. you are told to draft a document and that your deadline is two weeks away. you email your partners a list of dates that you can meet with them to work on the project. one teammate emails back that they are busy on those days. he does not propose alternates. you never hear from the second teammate.

since this isn't the only big project you have due in a couple of weeks, you decide to start the writing on your own. after sinking several hours into the project, both at work and at home, you send an outline and half-written draft to your teammates. you ask for feedback on the draft and whether there are any other points they would like you to incorporate. you receive no response to your email.

with the due date only days away, you've pretty much given up hope that you will see them face-to-face. apparently, they are too busy. still, you are confident that if you had to pit your loaded manager-y dayplanner against theirs in a cage match; yours would emerge bloody and victorious, holding the still-beating heart of their dayplanner aloft.

you complete the document on your own and send the final draft to them, again requesting feedback. the first teammate says that he will bring cut-out photographs for an accompanying storyboard. the day before the project is due, you hear from the second teammate for the first time and, by the way, she will bring cut-out photographs for the storyboard, too.

in three hours, we will be presenting this document to a roomful of people including our assistant director.

i'm steamed. what would jesus do?

last seen: the bad news bears, the aristocrats, bring me the head of alfredo garcia
last heard: godspeed you black emperor! 'lift your skinny fists like antennas to heaven'
last read: What's going on this week, outside the perimeter of the ranch-style White House in Crawford, is some reclamation of reality in public life.
bonus: TAL's Image Makers Episode- Act One Dewey Decibel System

Friday, August 05, 2005

the post where i come off sounding like a film snob but, really, i'm not fooling anyone because too many people already know that vision quest is one of my most favorite movies ever

this preoccupation with movies only crossed the line into unhealthy obsession a couple of years ago. in a way, i'm glad i waited until i was older to watch certain pictures; some seem to carry a different weight if you've had a chance to gather a few scars of your own before watching them. (hello, cassavetes.)

the best thing about being a cinematic late bloomer is that there are so many films yet to see and directors to catch up on. kurosawa has always been lurking there. while i've seen a few later works, i never got around to his early classics.

tonight, i watched seven samurai for the first time. the final two-thirds were pretty good, but it clocked in at [drumroll...rimshot] 3 hours and 20 minutes!

even the magnificent seven, which is the exact same story, was only two hours long.

i realize that an artist must follow his muse, but would it kill him to chase a shorter muse? i, for one, am all for time limits.

movies: 2 hours
novels: 300 pages
records: 50 minutes
poems: 3 stanzas
beatings from your dad: 2 minutes (with barehands), 1 minute (with something heavy)

last seen: heir to an execution, seven samurai
last heard: colin meloy 'i've changed my plea to guilty'
last read: My name is Richard Salvatore. I'm an extreme climber and Everest is just one of 132 other massive piles of dirt that I've mounted. My wife was number 86.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

a boring post about work, because, sadly, that's all
that's going on right now, hoss


the coming weeks will bring an odd confluence of a maternity leave, a promotion, and a resignation in my department. the combination will thin my ranks to just about half-strength. so, before the fall semester starts back up and we are overrun by the young and the restless, i've been focused--getting big projects out of the way or at least moving forward, getting my vacancies posted, preparing for interviews, finalizing programs for the early fall, reworking our schedule.

in case you're wondering, there is no easy way to rework a schedule with half of a staff.

sorry kids, more nights and weekends for everyone and, this year, maybe there just won't be a christmas.

i mentioned big projects. one of them is a time management class i have to help teach to other managers. listen up, new librarians, because one day you'll be standing right here.

remember when you were a young literature/art history/film theory/fiber arts/gender studies undergraduate? you laughed at business-y sounding books with all of their double-talk. other kids in other majors were being forced to read them.

you thought, i'll go to library school because then i'll never have to read books like that.

well, ha-ha, my friend. ha-ha.

in preparation for this workshop, i've been reading several of those kinds of books; each one with a passionless title like organized for success. trust me--when administration announced the topics for upcoming workshops and put out their call for mandatory volunteers to teach them, time management was the most painless option. i stepped up tout de suite lest i be recruited for the more horrible-sounding HR Trends 2.

at least i'm working with fun people though. besides, i'll have the last laugh when i'm charming women all across the greater southeast armed only with my boyish smile and a litany of time management tips.

last seen: twentieth century, the asphalt jungle
last heard: lead belly 'pretty flower in your back yard'
last read: if you feel overwhelmed with a crushing pressure to post to your blog, a pressure so acute and strong that you can't post anything at all, try to remember, no one cares. [via highrise]
bonus: sleater-kinney on fresh air [thanks for the tip, megan]