Friday, December 19, 2008

Boom-Boom Down

I did something this morning that I haven't done in a long time: I slipped and fell on some ice. I landed hard on my left hip. I didn't hurt myself, at least not that I feel, but I think I might of tweaked my back a little when I landed. I guess we'll see what happens as the day progresses. It was that proverbial "black ice," or clear ice. I didn't see it and before I knew it, boom, down I went. I think I jammed my finger as I caught myself more than I hurt my hip.

It what happens, when its been cold enough to freeze outside for a few days and then we have a night's worth of rain. Everything melts, save for a few spots here and there and I just happend to hit one of the "here's and there's" this morning.

The library, for all intense and purposes is in hybernation mode. Its the intersession between semesters so no one is really around. It is very quiet and a tad lonely, but I have been able to get somethings done.

Other than that, not much is happening in my slice of cyber-heaven.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Post of No Note

I get to work sixty hours this week.  If you count this past saturday and tack it on to this week, it'll be sixty-eight.  I worked last night for an eight hour shift and I can tell, that I've grown soft.  I lost my retail legs.  I've been limping around today, favoring my left leg a bit.  The retail legs will come back soon enough.  

I'm sitting in the library, at the reference desk.  Its the tailend of the semester, the last day of finals, so I feel just a tad superfulious.  The usual steady traffic has dwindled to a slow trickle, if that.  Even the coffee kiosks are closed.  

Is it possible that Christmas is less than two weeks away?  Wow.  This year really has flown by.  

I'm sipping on a cup of coffee that was just brewed by one of the librarians.  It has helped, perk me up, pun not intended.  And, I just spilled some on my shirt, way to go DWC, way to go.  If it wasn't so warm in the library, I'd go get my sweater and put it on.

Not much is happening in my little slice of heaven I call Indiana.  Its cold, but that's expected.  I am doing the ubiquitous "talking to a girl" and am in the process of tweaking the resume for submission.  Just your basic life.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Christmas Decoration

My mom and I have really missed my dad the last two weeks, or so. Not in the crying our eyes out, mourning, putting on sackclothe kind of way. No, it was more of a "man, we miss him because he did this, or that to make things a little easier." Case in point: Christmas decorations. In years past we would take one day and get everything up. I would up the tree, my dad would sit on the couch and untangle lights and my mom would be setting up other decorations in other rooms. Then, as I put lights on he would take out the tree ornaments, put them in an upturned boxtop and shoo the cats away from the pretty red rounds ones. And then he and I would put the ornaments on and be done by dinner.

This year it took my mom and I longer to get the stuff up. Almost a week. We did it when I was home from work. I put up the tree and the lights one day and then over the course of two or three days we put the ornaments on. Our house was awash with Christmas decoration boxes (plastic tubs we bought at WalMart a few years back).

The decoration is done, now. The plastictubs are back in the shed, and our house is somewhat festive. The tree, artificial, fills the picture window in front and the light reflect in the windwo itself. The cats sit under the tree and wrestle from time to time for possession of the tree.

Its a new Christmas time. A different feeling. Not so much sadness, but the feeling of missing something, or in this case, someone.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Cranium-sized Thermometer

My head is a barometer. Really, it is. A cranial shaped barometer. I can tell if the air pressure has gone up or down just by how my head feels. The weather changes drastically, I'm going to have a headache. The weather turns rainy for a while, my sinuses will run like Seabiscuit on the homestretch.

Today, I have a fairly unpleasant throb in my noggin. Its not a migraine, thank God, but its more of a knot in the head kind of feeling. I just want it to go away. It doesn't help that I have a flat screen monitor in front of my face. As a matter of fact, as I type this I'm not looking at the screen. I'm going by touch and hoping for the best. I'm not srue why flatscreen monitors have to be so bright. I mean thy really are almost too bright.

I get to eat lunch soon, maybe that will help. I'm going to gym later on today, that probably won't help.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I have lived in Indiana for six years. It will be seven next September. In all that time there has been an Aldi Food Store on the corner near my home since before we moved here. It is a rather nondescript building, brown, flat roofed, and in the great scheme of things, its rather squat in shape. In short, it doesn't have "flash" of, say, a Kroger.

So my mom and I, after running some rather unsuccessful errands, stopped off at the Aldi's store. A few weeks back, there had been a two page article in Time magazine all about Aldi's.

I'm going to cut to the chase: Aldi's is scary; very scary.

First of all, you want a shopping cart? Twenty-five cent deposit, please. Huh?

You want to use our bags? Ten cents a piece. Pardon?

I walked in ahead of my mom. She got a cart-- which is a story in and of itself. Short version: she someone coming out of the store. Said person offered her the shopping cart, only after my mom coughed up a quarter for the courtesy.

We got in and started walking around. When I was a kid living in New York I remember going to the ShopRite supermarket, I remember seeing black and white food packages with the label MSB. Which stood for Money Saving Brand. Basically, MSB was a step up from Government Issue. That's kind of what Aldi's reminded me of. A store full of MSB.

The most frightening part of the whole experience was getting out of the place. We couldn't figure out how to get out. We could see the front door, but we couldn't get there. My mother didn't want to buy anything. She thought that Aldi's was more expensive than the Kroger or Walmart or even Sam's Club (yes we shop at the Evil Empire...)

The way this Aldis was designed was actually pretty slick: the only way you could go was towards the check out. We were, for lack of a better term, in a chute. We tried to get out through a closed check out lane, but there was a gate that wouldn't let us through. So, we backtracked literally. We went back through the "chute." And went out how we came in.

Once we got into the car we did a quick double debrief. Both my mom and I were just a tad freaked out. Neither one of us had ever felt trapped in a store before. We both literally felt like we couldn't get out. We finally escaped through the front door, after my mom abandoned her cart by the front door.

I wish I could describe the terror, yes, I used the term terror I felt after I could get out of there. It was one of the strangest feelings I've ever had....

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A Feeling of "Ahhhhh..."

The election is over. Thank God. I have the same feeling right now, I do after a scary doctor's visit: relief. Its done and in the books. Obama, the Messiah, has been crowned and in a few months time he will ascend to his throne.

I have heard this today: "for the first time in my life I am proud of my country." Huh? I am proud of my country every day. While I'm not exactly pleased with the result of this election, it is great to see the day after an election peaceful. There might be a few hurt feelings, a maybe a raw nerve or two, but that's about it. There is no blood in the streets, no tanks, no soldiers. Walking around campus today it was quiet, subdued, almost. I think a collective sigh of relief.

I don't have much to say about things. I never really do, if you think about it. But the feeling of (I beg your pardon, I need to use an onomonopoetic here) "ahhhhhh..." is everywhere.

Now we can get on with the business life. The political brouhaha is, at least for a day or two, over. That chapter is done.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Seasons Change

The seasons are changing and I welcome it. There is a distinct cooling in the air, pumpkins are starting to sprout on front porches, and costume stores are on every corner. Haunted houses are being touted. The leaves are changing from the chameleon green to the more natural red, yellows, and oranges. The days are getting shorter. My sweater doesn't seem so out of place now.

We are deep into the fall semester, papers are starting to come due and research is being quickly done. Freshman students, eager as always to please, take big topics and try to squeeze them into two page papers. The success is debatable.

Speaking of debates, the election season is winding down, or heating up, I guess it all depends on your way of looking at it. Soon we will have a new president and a new set of problems.

Autumn has arrived and in it, I revel.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Maryland, Again

A whirlwind trip to Maryland, done. It was a quick weekend. As I look back at it, I think I spent more time in the car going and coming back than actually on vacation. We went to the mountains of Western Maryland. We go there a lot, more than we should probably, but to hell with it, that's my "homeplace" as the oldtimers used to call it.

The leaves were just starting to turn from their thick green to their fire reds, oranges, yellows. The maples were the furthest along. The air was clean and in the mornings and evenings crisp.

It felt good like it always does to go "home."

Friday, October 03, 2008

Traveling with Steinbeck

Taking a break from reading. I'm re-re-reading Travels with Charley, by John Steinbeck. Its one of those books that never quite got the notice his other books like Grapes of Wrath, or Of Mice and Men recieved and that's too bad. Almost sad, really.

Those other books are good, great even, but there is something about them doesn't really resonate with me. That is particularly true with Grapes of Wrath. Maybe the themes are too big, or maybe my brain is too small. Either way, I feel awash in the prose and somewhat buffetted by them. Not so with Travels with Charley.

Travels with Charley is, as far as I am concerned miscast. One usually finds it in the amongst the fiction of Steinbeck. It is not fiction, but a travelogue. In the early 60's Steinbeck decided to become reaquainted with America. He figured, and rightly so, that since he wrote about America and the American experience he should get to know America. So he had a small camper built on a pickup truck, got his standard sized Poodle, Charley and set off to rediscover his country. Or as he put it:
One of my purposes was to listen, to hear speech, accent, speech rhythms, overtones and emphasis. For speech is so much more than words and sentences. I did listen everywhere. It seemed to me that regional speech is in the process of disappearing, not gone but going. Forty years of radio and twenty years of television must have this impact. Communications must destroy localness, by a slow, inevitable process. ...with local accent will disappear local tempo. The idioms, the figures of speech that make language rich and full of poetry of place and time must go. And in their place will be a national speech, wrapped and packaged, standard and tasteless.

Reading Travels with Charley is like looking at a backwards mirror. I do find it to be a modern day prophecy. When I read Travels with Charley I have to do it in small doses, a page or two, sometimes just a paragraph. Reading the book almost fifty years removed from the actual writing has the feelin of literary archeology.

I have a strange affinity for Steinbeck. I'm not sure why, maybe it has something to do with the fact that he and I share a birthday, granted his was 72 years before mind and he was dead a full seven years before I made my squalling appearance, but for some reason Steinbeck's words resonate and rattle my brain cage when I read them. Full discloure: I tried, but have never gotten through East of Eden, if there is a heavier handed book I have yet to meet it.

There are passages in Travels with Charley that stick with me, particularly those rare occasions when I am traveling. I usually get whacked in the head from Steinbeck when I am in a motel. I make it a point to leave nothing behind because of something he writes about when he stops in Chicago.

There is an audio recording of the book, but it is only on audio tape; trust me, I have looked for it on cd. The book is read by Gary Sinese. Sinese's gravelly voice really captures the prose and the rythym of the book.

So, I shall go back to 1960 and drive with John and his dog Charley and rediscover America. I wonder what I'll learn this time.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

If You're Happy and You Know It...

I have gotten rather spoiled quickly by my new job. If for no other reason than I have annoyingly regular schedule. I'm not complaining at all, actually. It is nice to be able to go to work at nine or ten and able to come home at five or six, seven on Tuesdays. It's nice to have Friday evenings off, if I want I can do something, I haven't done much with them, though. Its nice to wake up on Saturday look at the ceiling and say "I don't have to go to work today." Saturday night, I usually go to church, mainly because I don't like going to the "contemporary service" they have at my church every other week and I have a hard time remember which week they do it.

Sunday is a great day. If I'm not in church, I just kind of bum around. Right now, I'm in my pajamas, listening to NPR and drinking my second cup of coffee, they just had a story about a singer I've heard of, but never heard before. Ira Glass is now introducing This American Life.

Emma, my white cat, just knocked something off my dresser-- my wallet.

I just poured my third cup of coffee. I'm going to the gym later on today.

I got involved in Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. It hasn't been easy. Its not easy, its a lot of work, but I'm learning somethings that are helpful. I'm working on my thousand dollar emergency fund. That has been harder than I thought it would be. Its coming along, but slower than I had hoped, but even the tortoise got to the finish line, right.

I'll be paying off JCPenny next month.

Things are going well. Yeah, I am blessed.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bobbleheaded Talking Heads

I've been listening into the debate between the bobbleheaded politicians we have to pick from this evening. I'm not actively watching it, but I am sort of listening to it. One thing comes across clearly. Neither bobblehead McCain or bobblehead Obama like each other. They really don't.

I think I'm gonna watch a movie.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Researchin Fool

I love research. I really do. I think that's part of the reason I got into the whole librarian thing. I can help others research and when I have some downtime I, too, can research topics that interest me. Lately, I have gotten re-turned on to Confederacy of Dunces. I just reread the novel and I was totally blown away (again) by what a good, well written, funny, tour de force it is. It is a shame that its author, John Kennedy Toole, went the way of Sylvia Plath, and most recently, David Foster Wallace.

The last few days, okay the last two weeks, I have been doing some indepth literature review on what has been written about CoD and its author. At present, I have a big TIMELIFEBOOKS bag filled with books that in some way or another pertain to CoD. I have two dissertations as well as a small, but steadily growing stack of printouts of articles that have been written about the book and its author. I have also mined the works cited of said dissertations, looked for the resources those authors cited and found, ordered and otherwise tried to acquire those sources. I have ordered another dissertation that I will hopefully be able to peruse at some future date, and then photocopy and mine that workscited page.

Thank God for GoogleScholar and the variouis online databases I am able to access from work. I am sure that being able to use those has helped keep my interest and curiosity up. I doubt very much I would have dug through printed resources, but then again, maybe I would have. I can be tenacious when I want to be.

I think more than anything it is the search. Yes, the information is good, but the search for the information is what realy gets my burners going. John Kennedy Toole's personal papers, manuscripts, etc are housed at Tulane University. Anyone want to take a roadtrip to the Big Easy?

Maybe in the back of my mind somewhere there is a thought of using this research as a the beginnings of a masters thesis for a masters program I haven't even looked into, applied for, let alone started course work for. I'm a glutton for punishment, I guess. Let's call this research "personal edification" and leave it at that for the time being.

I can justify doing this research in another way. It forces me to use databases in the library that sharpens my skills with database searching; I can in turn use those skills I've learned to help students with their research questions.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

On the Wall

Today's weather is blissful. The softedge of autumn has made a subtle appearance. The sun is hot, but the air that breezes through campus conteracts the late summer rays of dear Mister Sol.

I ate my lunch this afternoon outside. I prefer to do that, it gets me out and about, I can take a short walk and I can see what's happening on campus. While I was working on my masters, I was only on campus on Fridays and when I was on campus to work on an assignment it was often in the evening. So, I wasn't able to really see what happens on campus during the week. The answer: not much. IUPUI is a commuter school. Of the 25,000 or so that are enrolled probably 99 percent are commuters.

After I ate my lunch I went back to the library to deposit my plastic Kroger back on my desk and grabbed the book I'm currently trying to get into. Its not going well. I took myself and said book outside again and sat upon one of the low walls. I leaned against a lightpost and tried to read. My after-lunch-slow-down mental capablities had a hard time keeping up with David Foster Wallace (yes, I'm a ghoul. He hanged himself over the weekend and I decided to check his bookout of the library). The sun was shinging in my eyes, too.

Classes must of let out while I was sitting upon my wall. Suddenly the walkways were awash with pedestrians jocking for position, most with backpack shells strapped to their backs. I feared for anyone who decided to become an eddy in the bipedal stream, disaster might have struck.

Eventually, my attention was caught by a orange flowers in the flowerbed adjacent to my wall. I think they were daisies, but I don't know if daisies come in orange. Yellow, yes, orange, I'm not sure. I noticed in the flowers (daisies) a microcosm of life. In this case: butterflies and honey bees. They worked in tandem. The butterfly would flit from one flower to another and the honey bee would buzz along side. I found it to be almost refreshing to watch this small ecosystem at my feet work itself. The butterfly would alight upon a flower flaps its paperthin wings two or three times and the move to the next.

In some weird way, it struck me as beautiful.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The "Triangle"

My desk is located in the "Triangle." The Triangle is a room that is shaped like a triangle, hence the name. Its not shaped like a right triangle, one could probably say that it is in the shape of an Isosceles Triangle. It is a windowless office. There are four cubicles back to back. Jeff sits at the one on the other side of my little pincushion wall. Shalanda to my back. There is another behind Shalanda, but that one is used as a staging area for sorting journals and has various rechargers (that is also where I hook up my iPod recharger from time to time).

It can get very hot and "close" in the triangle. I am often chased out of the triangle not by coworkers, but by heat and stale air. When I have to be back in the triangle, I try get everything done as quickly as I can so that I can back out, to use a retail term, the "floor," or reference desk. I'd much rather be stationed there than back in the triangle.

I refuse to eat my lunch in the triangle as well. If the weather is nice, I go out, find a table, and eat my sandwich, read a book, people watch, and usually take a quick walk to the Campus Center and roam around the BN there.

The only thing I truly use the triangle for is a place to stow my stuff, my bag, my lunch, etc.

Its still a little strange to have my own desk, my own phone, and my own "space." I've gotten used to it, that took about two weeks, but sometimes I just scratch my head and say to myself "really?"

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thoughts on Keywords

It is an interesting excercise to visit my internet tracker. I check it regularly, not to see how many people have bumped into my little slice of cyber-heaven, but see how they found it. I love looking at the keywords. SOmetimes they're funny, sometimes I scratch my head and wonder how those words found this blog. Its not really important what the words are, because I don't have any examples. I can tell you this, though, gastanks are very important. Most of the hits I have on my blog come from people who are searching something to do with gas or gastanks. These searches include everything from "pictures of empty gastank," to "what happens when there are rocks in gastank."

I also get strange things like "pedal pushing videos," which turns out to be a strange fetish. By definition, though, fetishes are strange, I think. Or at least "against the norm."

I guess I never really thought about that kind of thing when I set up this blog. I don't suppose its a bad thing, per se. Matter of fact, its pretty interesting.

That's about the best I can do for an entry today.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

How Many Reams

When did libraries become publishing houses? I am amazed at the amount of printing/photcopying that goes on this library. I'm sure I did it when I was doing my schooling, but certainly not this much, right? The other day someone put 15, you read that right, fifteen reems of paper into our various printing machines... that wasn't enough by the end of the day. We charge .04 cents a page, why? A statisitic: last year the library spent over $50,000 dollars on paper, toner, and printer upkeep. The students get angry that we charge for copying. We have no choice, we don't get a cut from the "technology fee" that the university charges the students. That goes towards computers and internet and all that good stuff.

I found myself, at times, gritting my teeth after the umpteenth "Hi, how do I print..." or "I told it (the computer) to print, but where do I get the printout?" Their eyes glaze when I ask "do you have money on your jagtag?" Jagtag being student id/library card/copy card all rolled into one. It doesn't, pardon the phrase, compute. Then I have to give them a quick tutorial on how to put money on said jagtag and then how to get said printer to do what it was designed to do.

Another great question is this: where's your fiction section. Its tough to explain to a freshman, sorry first year student, that fiction is not in a section like they know in say a Barnes & Noble. Their eyes glaze over, again.

Its funny, actually. So, I shall continue to shake my fist at the whole thing and laugh and just shake my head...

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Gravel Voiced Icon to be Missed

The Cinema world is going to be different from here on out. The Movie-Voice Guy, Don LaFontaine died this morning at the age of 68. You may not know who he is, but you know who he is. LaFontaine was that deep voiced "In a world where..." movie trailer guy. It wasn't a movie trailer until you heard his voice. I think he did every movie trailer I ever saw throughout my childhood. He was one of those pop culture icons...

*does his best Don LaFontaine voice* In a world without Don LaFontaine...

sorry, kids... no go.

Monday, September 01, 2008

A Rambling Entry That Touches on Some of the Newsworthy Items of Recent Days*

so i was watching cnn last evening. that's always a fun thing to do. particularly when anderson cooper gets on there and starts over reporting and getting all kinds of dramatic in his one-size-too-small black t-shirt and looking so, i don't know, anderson cooperish. here's to hoping someone pops him inna mouf some day. whatta tough guy. and lookit at his gun show. careful man, with those guns, ya might hurt someone.

well any way, i was watching cnn and they were talking about the republican convention and how this hurricane gustav might affect it. here is the little tag line they had underneath all the talking heads: "bad timing for a convetion." yeah, you read that right.; the republicans saw there was going to be a hurricane in the gulf coast so they collectively said "ooh, lets hurry up and do our convention this week!" an aside, or digression, your choice: can i punch anderson cooper inna mouf? it would make me feel better. really it would. i think the tagline should of been "bad timing for a hurricane." which does beg another question, sort of, but i'm going to ask it any way mainly because i'm sure at least 85 percent of americans are asking the same question: you want to live in new orleans? really? me, not so much.

now, as for sara palin: hotty. or to misquote owen meany, "your mom is cuter than all the other moms." how do i feel about her on the ticket? its ballsy. i feel better with someone who doesn't have much (okay, any) national experience as the vp, as opposed to the presidential end. you know, i think if the democratic ticket was flip-flopped i might be more likely to vote for biden/obama (maybe) as opposed to an obama/biden ticket (pigs might fly and hell may freeze over...) she's got that librarian look that seems to be all the rage right now. seriously, though, i don't know enough about her to decide if i should be please, or fearful of the choice.

so, i'm going to rib fest this afternoon in downtown indy. it is overpriced and the ribs tend to be a bit dry, but the rev peyton' big damn band is playing and i lurve the rev peyton's big damn band . this is my first real day off in a while. i've kind of been bouncing off the wall since yesterday in anticipation. it feels good.

*sings along with the rev peyton cd* wejustgettinba lord, wejustgettinba! wejustgettinba, lord! wejustgettinba, lord!

*borrowed from my diary at opendiary. somewhat expanded, though

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Stopped, Rested

I was sick most of the day today. I woke up throwing up and headachie. It honestly sucked. I called off from work from the bookstore and I have a feeling that was a not a very good idea. i'm sure the bossman wasn't happy. I could hear it in the long silence as I told him I wasn't coming in. I slept most of the morning. I've been pulling about 50 hours a week of work the last three weeks, I guess. Today, because I called off was my first day off since I started working in the library. I was trying to balance both jobs, but working seven days a week just doesn't cut it. Maybe I'm a wuss, that could very well be, but I've learned through my life that when my body says "stop, rest" I stop and rest. I just wish it hadn't been such a violent "stop-rest," but I guess that's the only way I'll stop & rest.

It felt good to just kind putter around the house doing this and that, but it got a bit old. By five o'clock I was ready to get out and do something. I should have mowed the lawn, but I didn't. That'll get done this week. Tomorrow or Tuesday.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Genuine Smile

This is the last picture of my father in his pastoral robes. He is second from the left in the front row. That smile is genuine. He genuinely loved being a pastor and loved ministry.

He passed away six months ago last Sunday. Its hard for me to believe that a half of a year has gone by so quickly. My mother and I are doing well. We both miss him, but together we have worked through the sadness; there wasn't much of that, though. No, we both believed, nay, knew that he was with his Lord. And we both took so much comfort in that. We knew that if he had survived and been sent to a nursing home, or even sent home, he would have been unhappy with the quality of life.

We first saw the picture in the new church diretory. We were both a little surprised by it. It was a bit of shock to sit in the pew that Sunday morning we first got it, flip through the pages of the directory and there with a huge smile on his face is my father, doing what he loved most: pastoral ministry.

That smile is symbolic, too. For all Christians. I am sure that my father has that smile on right now in heaven. He is at peace and in the Church Triumphant. That smile, though, is the key to it all, at least for me. Its just another one of those little gifts that my dad gave my mom and I. That smile, the big toothy, happy smile.

That smile is a result of a life-long faith that never wavered. It was tested, I'm sure, but that faith always came out of the forge stronger. About a week or so before he died he had been listening to Coach Tony Dungy's book Quiet Strength. In that book Coach wrote that his mantra was simply "do what we do," he used that mantra to get his team the Indianapolis Colts into the proper frame of mind and to keep focus. One day, my mom and I walked into his room and he looked at us, smiled and said "Do what we do." I think he had somewhat reconciled himself to the fact that he might not be coming home, that he might be going to a nursing home, at least for a while, but he looked at it as another form of ministry. Do what we do.

The Lord called him on Feb. 17, 2008. My father did what he did and he touched many people with his ministry and love. That smile that beams from a picture is the result of that ministry and his Doing what he did.

Peace, dad, and thanks for that smile.

Monday, August 18, 2008

This'll be Fun

The semester starts on Wednesday. As is my new custom, I took a walk over to the new regally named Campus Center after I finished my lunch. The place is a wash with new students. The Barnes & Noble college bookstore is making money hand over fist. It was kind of cute to see students walking about heavy laden with thick tomed textbooks in the crock of their elbow, spilling down to their knees. A mental smile bloomed across my mental lobe as I said to myself "They'll read them for the first two weeks, they're lucky and they'll end up in the corner gathering dust and then, at the end of the semester they'll try and sell them back and be sorely disappointed when they get peanuts..." Ah, college life.

We have started to get an uptick in questions dealing with logging on the computer, trying to get something printed, how to check books out of the library, etc, etc, etc.

Yes, this'll be an interesting experience. Can't hardly wait.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

When Three are Needed, But One'll Do

Not much happens in Indianapolis. I think that's part of the reason that Indianapolis is often called Indian-no-place. So be it. It seems, though, at this hour something is happening. I was outside munching my lunch when I realized that there were multiple helicopters hovering in place just to the south of where I was sitting. I didn't think much of it and returned to my lunch and my book. A few minutes later I realized that said helicopters were still hovering in place; so, I closed my book, walked into the library, logged on to a computer and checked on of the local television station webpages. It seems that there are three window washers dangling from the 28th floor of a bank building. Their platform broke from beneath them, but they were strapped in somehow so as the platform fell, they commenced to dangle. This event, a seminal event, I'm sure requires three, not one, but three helicopters.

We all know why they are there, right? Yes, it would be nice for the poor fellows to be rescued and that would be a nice little story, but the I bet somewhere in a dark newsroom that we don't want to know about some news director is hoping, secretly mind you, that well they aren't rescued. That would be copy! Friends, that might get on NBC national news or something... but don't let my cynicism in the media get in the way.

Breaking News!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

my surface is myself under which to witness youth is buried

Keywords. Search terms. Databases. More training today. Each librarian in this library has been given 30 minutes to clue me and the G.A.'s how the various databases in their respective "area of expertise" works. Training, like meetings, makes my eyes roll around in my head. I know its important, but you can show me how to do something a hundred times and I won't remember it, let me play with it and I'll get it, eventually.

The above title? A keyword string that found this blog. Yeah, I don't get it either.

Monday, August 11, 2008


August eighth would have been my parents' thirty-seventh wedding anniversary. With the summer Olympics in full swing I have heard some interesting things about Chinese numerology and their belief that the number eight is the most lucky numer there is.

My parents were married on August 8, 1971, 8/8/8 (that is if you add 7+1). They were blessed many times through course of their marriage and I'd say that they were fairly "lucky," if you put much stock in numerological things. When my dad had realized that the Olympic opening would be on 8/8/08 he became very excited and had, according to my mom, said that instead of going out to eat to celebrate their anniversary we would have to have chinese food and watch the opening ceremonies on TV. Well, my mom and I were planning just that, but some friends of ours from Accident blew through on their way home to Illinois so we instead ate at Pizzeria Uno's and had pizza, but we were able to watch the opening ceremony at home later that evening.

As I went through my father's things I found two large plastic boxes; he had saved old sermons that he had preached and, if the opportunity arose and he had a chance to preach a vacation Sunday, or even a vacancy, he would go to the box and pull out an old sermon, freshen it up a bit and preach it on Sunday. I looked through the boxes the other night. I could kind of hear my dad's been-out-of-Brooklyn-for-over-forty-years Brooklyn accent. It was interesting to see his little oration marks that he used: a slash here, a hyphen there. I assume they were marks for breathing and pacing, but I don't know for sure.

We are pretty much done going through dad's things. We have gotten rid of somethings and kept somethings. We have donated some stuff and sold other stuff. There are some pastors in Sri Lanka that are wearing his old clercals and there is a newly minted pastor in Pennsylvania wearing some of his stoals and there is a newly started seminarian using one his albs. In short, my mom and I have tried to continue his ministry the best we can.

These two pictures I have posted are from the last family vacation we took two summers ago when we went to Ohio to visit some Presidential homes. I am particularly fond of the first one. There is something about how they are walking together that really seems to capture their relationship: walking together down a path. It brings a smile to my face and puts a little lump in my throat.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

My Life is a Tati Movie

A few weeks ago, on our way home from Western Maryland, my mom and I stopped at the Barnes & Noble in Morgantown, West Virginia (it is one of my favorite BN's ever, I'm not really sure why, but I really do enjoy stopping there). while I was there, I bought the new Criterion release of Jacques Tati's film Trafic. Tati was a French comedic actor and movie directory. His movies include M. Hulot's Holiday, Mon Oncle, and Playtime. Each film in its own way is funny and thought provoking, though, at times, slapsticky, but that is neither here nor there. As a matter of fact, I think it is because each of those films is humorous and slapsticky that they seem to stick in my head, particularly Playtime and now, it appears, Trafic.

Playtime and Trafic are in their own humorous ways "message movies." They both speak to modernity and how it affects (and will affect) humans. It is something to behold these two color movies and realize how stark they really are. Today I realized that my life seems to have taken a bit of a left turn into the land of Tati. I don't mean that in a bad way, though.

Trafic deals with, you guessed it, traffic in general and automobile traffic in particular. Here is a basic synopsis of Trafic. Since viewing this film I have started looking at my commute to work in a different light. A more humorous light, to be sure, but a different light. It has been funny to be at stop lights and to see people doing exactly what he made light of in his film: singing loudly, picking their nose, primping themselves, etc. Also, the sheer idiocy of sitting in traffic waiting for a light to green so I can go less than a quarter of mile before I stop again (yes, there is a certain amount of Office Space in the whole affair, too).

In the morning, when I'm going to work, it takes me approximately 30 minutes to get there. If I leave at 8 am, I will be there sometime between 830 and 845. However, when I leave to go home, it takes me almost a full hour to go the exact same distance. I left at 5 pm this afternoon, by the time I got the gym which is on the way home it quite nearly 6 pm, maybe a little later. I truly had to chuckle when I was stuck in the middle of an intersection because of a tie up at the next traffic light. I wasn't going any where. And this is Indianapolis for crying outloud!

Today at work I had some training. Part of the training was a tour of the library which consisted of going into offices one usually doesn't get to see. I was traipsed through tech services which is in the bowels of the library, well lit bowels, but the bowels all the same. I was wishing I'd had my camera so I could take pictures, but I didn't and even if I had had my camera I doubt I would of taken any pictures because that might of been rude.

Tech Services, aka cataloging, is in a huge room on the first floor of the library; a massive room that had offices along the walls and cubicles in the middle. Each section of tech services had its own area: Interlibrary Loans, perodicals, digital library, etc. Each section's employees desk were inside their cubicle walls. In fact, one of the employees had a Batman fetish. You should of seen his collection of Batman paraphenalia in his cupicle. I had a sudden urge to move things around and see if he noticed, but I decided against it. This long digression is leading somewhere, I think.

Any way, as we walked through tech services, I kept expecting Tati's alterego Hulot to come bumbling by in his slouched hat and trenchcoat. As we walked through techservices, I felt a bit like a rat in a maze. Or, like Hulot befuddled by modern Paris. It was a weird sensation. And stranger still, I felt an odd pull towards the techservices, like I almost wanted to join them. As a matter of fact, I hope to someday work in techservices for a while, just to try it and see how I'd like it.

Now, though, I'll just have to learn to speak French and I'll be good to go for the next Tati film! (Maintenant, bien que, I' ; le ll juste doivent apprendre à parler le français et l'I' ; il soit bon aller ll pour le prochain film de Tati !)


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Story By Pictures

The Interloper, aka Barnsey

The Muscle, the Bouncer, aka Emma

You wanna piece of me? Well, do you?

Its go time!

That was a warning, bub.

Friday, August 01, 2008

"So busy being a gangster, I don't know which one is real"

Watching Asian gangster movies is fun. They are so much more fun than American gangster movies. American gangster movies have this thing called plot. This thing called plot can often get in the way of the good old fashioned gunplay and lord knows we need more gunplay in the gangster movies. I am, at present, watching Hardboiled. The great John Woo film; it was his last before he came to America to make films like the Replacement Killers and Mission Impossible II. The Replacement Killers being the better of the two.

Last night I watched the movie The Killers, again by John Woo. The cool thing about Asian gangster movies is this: they don't reload. Ever. They just shoot and shoot and shoot and nary a once do they reload. I dare you watch an Asian gangers film and see them reload. I think that's in the rule book for Asian gangster film: rule 1: no reloading.

The first time I ever saw an Asian gangster movie was in college. There wer two Vietnamese dudes that lived down the hall from me. They would sit around, eat noodles and watch gangster movies. I don't think they did much else than that. Well, from time to time they would through in some porno flick, but they usually did the Asian gangster film. It was always fun to watch the AGF with them for a couple reasons. The first was they would chatter back and forth at each other in Vietnamese. I wasn't quite sure if they were talkinga bout the movie or me, but that didn't matter. The second was that I learned some Vietnamese. I learned two words. One word was "Gongat" and the other was "Dumbwah." Now this being a family friendly blog I really can't translate them, but let's just say that they are swear words that do in fact get to the heart of the matter when something really cool or awsome happens on the screen.

THe other thing that is cool about the AGF is this: the music. It reall does work well, it gets the point across. In Hardboiled its a combination of Jazz, native music and techno. Its a weird auditory stew.

Oh, gotta go. Gunplay!

Thursday, July 31, 2008


The Cubes. For the first time in my life I have an "office." Okay, its more like a cubicle. It is located behind the door that states Library Personel Only, in big black letters. The door is an offwhite, perhaps slightly greyish door. It has a shiny silver knob on it. I push said knob down, said door opens. Walk down the hallway and to your left are a couple of offices, there is a pile of books there, too. On the right is a small room that has lockers in it, but that room also is full of library carts, or H-carts. The next room down on the right is the "triangle." Its a room that is somewhat triangularly shaped. That is where my "office" is located. I am in the middle. To the left is Jeff, he was just awarded his PhD. in History (long live the Humanities major!) To my right is Chalanda. I haven't had an opportunity to talk to either of them much, but they seem like nice folks.

I started my new job as a reference librarian this past Tuesday. I was, to say the least, a bit frightened by the prospect. I've been selling books for the last eight years. Actually "being" a librarian was more of an etheral thought, I never quite believed it would happen, but happen it has. I have a cubicle! I also have a computer, and a phone. I have arrived! Now I can watch
Office Space with a better understanding. Actually, I hope not.

This is where I work. I am a parttime reference librarian. I am going to be paid well, but there will be no benefits (at least not right away). But I think the benefits to my resume and experience gained will be just as, if not more, valuable. One of the things I am most excited about is the regular schedule. I will be working mainly days during the week. I will be keeping some hours at my current job (retail) but hopefully just a few days a week (read that no more than three).

I have found myself sort of pinching myself. Making sure its for real. I keep expecting a call that says "DWC, we were just pullin your chain..." that hasn't happened yet; so, I guess I'm in like Flynn, at least for the foreseeable future.

I am tempered in my enthusiasm by one thing: this position is funded for a year. It might not be around next year, but I do take comfort in the fact that it was funded last year. I got this position kind of by accident. A friend of mine and former classmate had the position before me, your faithful narrator. He, Brad, recently got a job in Atlanta and one day I stopped by to wish him Godspeed, fair-the-well, and heartfelt congratulations. Suddenly, I had a brain enema. I carry my resume and references wherever I go. I handed said resume and references to Brad and asked him to forward them to the person in charge. He did so and added his own letter of recommendation. A few days later I got an email from the guy in charge of reference asking me to come by for an interview. So I did.

This is a blessing on many fronts. Experience wise this is tremendous, but so too financially. I'll be able to pay bills that have been dogging me for awhile (read that credit card bills). For this I am most excited.

I can honestly say this now: "Hello, I'm a librarian" and mean it. That feels so good. Really, it does.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lazy Sunday

Sunday is such an odd day. Particularly this time of year. After church there isn't much to do; no football to watch. The baseball season hasn't yet really started to heat up. sure I could have watched Baseball Tonight on ESPN been "treated" to another game between two of the teams I could care less about: Yankees and Red Sox. As far as I can tell they are the only two teams in the country. The "Rivalry" is truly getting to be old hat with me.

It was a nice day, so I spent a little time outside. I cleaned up some of the shed in the back, went through some more books of my dad's. Most of them were ratty and old. That's the reason for and the result of leaving them in the shed to begin with. They weren't that important to begin wit. So, they sat outside in the shed in the cold, the heat, the rain, and snow. Too bad.

I read a little today. I've been reading the book Here if You Need Me. I don't like it all that much. Thought, I am glad I'm reading it becasue I am at least learning something about Universal Universalist thought and "theology." The author, Kate Braestrup, is a good writer, but that doesn't mean the book is all that well written. Its okay, I suppose, but it'll be pitched into the "going to half-price books" bag after I'm through with it.

At one point, I watched the Brickyard 400 on ESPN. I was actually surprised that I could watch it. I figured that it would be blacked out in the Indy area like the 500 is. I don't make it a habit of watching Nascar. I'm not even sure who won, I think the guy was racing a blue car, but I could be wrong. The only thing I do know is that Tony Stewart didn't win and that made me happy. Watching cars heavy laden with brightly colored ads, which in effect turn them into four wheeled, fast moving billboards, going around and around in a large oval (in the case of the Brickyard 400, 160 times) doesn't do much for me. If I had my choice I think I'd rather watch golf, maybe. I don't know much about Nascar, but I do know that I don't like Tony Stewart. I don't have a favorite driver, but I always root against Stewart. I know, I know, that makes me a bad Hoosier, so be it. I just don't like the guy and I wish someone would shut him up.

I also watched some vapid show on MTv. Something called From G's to Gentlemen. I'm not sure I understood the premise. I pretty much stuck with the Brickyard.

This evening mom and finished watching the movie version of Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt. Its a sad, somewhat depressing, but at the same time uplifting movie. I guess it fits the Irish way of looking at the world. I think I'll either try and read the book, or see if I can find it on cd and listen to it on my way to and from work.

And now, I'm listening to Pipe Dreams. A music show on NPR. I enjoy listening to it on Sunday nights, followed by Hearts of Space, an ambient/newage music show.

So, I'm winding down for the night. Watching Emma, the white cat, drink water from my water glass. She can reach the water with her tongue. Sometimes she sticks her whole paw into the water and licks it dry. Its not something I encourage, trust me.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Accident, a Redux

The reason why we went to Accident in the first place to attend the ordination service of Rev. David Oester, recently graduated from Concordia Seminary, Ft. Wayne, IN. Rev. Oester is the guy in the middle of the picture. His family used to be members of the church my father served in the Cove, about four miles outside of town. But there was some turmoil in the church a few years before we arrived. His family transferred to a congregation in Glen Savage. Long story short, the pastor at the church resigned because of health issues and the were without a pastor, so David and another layman stepped up and conducted services. It was a proud day for David and his family. His cousin, Rev. Jim Oester, preached a wonderful sermon. Rev. Jim Oester also gave the homily at my father's "graveside" service back in February. Jim is the tall, thin man on the left of the picture. Jim obviously took very good notes and paid very close attention in his "how to preach classes."

Shortly after my father died, my mom and I contacted David Oester and asked him if he would like my father's stoles. He had two sets. The older ones (the ones on the left) were his originals. The ones he got when he was first ordained (in 1962) The second set was purchased sometime in the '80's I think. We took both sets up and gave them both to him. He decided to keep the newer set, we're supposed to get the older set back, eventually. I think I like that idea. For some reason, I have an attachment to the older ones. That sounds silly, but I think you understand what I mean; I can't quite find the words for it. I have a picture of my father on his ordination day. He is pictured in his robes and his red stole (do you spell it stole or stoal, for some reason, I've never known, ah well).

The "excuse" to go to Accident as Rev. David Oester's ordination. But this picture should give a good you a good idea as to the "reason" we went to Accident. This picture is of the Cove. A valley about four miles outside of town. We lived here from 1986 to 1995. I honestly believe that Accident made me who I am today. I lived in that valley for almost ten years. I didn't have cable and my friends from school were too far away for me to visit regularly, so I learned how to read. I knew how to read, but I didn't know how to read. I didn't know how to get enjoyment out of it, I didn't know that books could do that things they do. I also had a topnotch library system that allowed me to get just about anything I wanted. It is because of Accident that I went to college and eventually got my masters. But more importantly, I found my faith there. Its where I got my bible that I use to this day. When the Concordia Self-Study Bible first came out, Concordia Publishing House sent a couple of gratis copies of the Self-Study, it had (it is now covered with duct tape) a red binding. It was, in short an ideal place for someone like myself to grow up and discover the world. I learned about the circle of life there. I was able to watch calves being born (kind of an ugly, scary experience) and I have seen dead cows decay naturally. I was able to be a part of live church life cycles, too: baptisms, confirmations, weddings, and funerals. The seed of faith that had been planted in my heart was fertilized, tended to, and grew in that little valley. William Carlos Williams wrote in his long poem Patterson the following:
My surface is myself.
Under which
to witness, youth is
buried. Roots?

Everybody has roots

Accident is my roots. I have two, to quote Kinky Friedman, "spiritual homes;" the first is New York. That's my genealogical roots and New York City just holds a special place in my heart, but Accident, that's something more to me. That's roots, right there. I'm a part of Accident and Accident is a part of me.

This is one of the pictures I took at the
Adventure Sports Center International. Its the manmade whitewater rafting river that I wrote about in my last last post. It was actually quite amazing to see. The it looked like a great big, rock festooned floom that you might see in an amusement park or something like that. It looked like fun, but the prices a bit high. Though, I was informed that they have a "local wednesdays" which means that local folk can do the rapids for 20 bucks a pop. That's more my style.

This picture was snapped on Route 40 near Grantsville, MD. Its just kind of shows the thick forest that covers the land of Garrett County. Rte 40 is a thin, two and four lane highway. It goes east to west. One day a friend of mine and I went to a small bar/restaraunt called the Anchor for some beer and wings. It was almost by definition, a dive bar. I loved it immediately. Sadly, I've gotten used to the clean, well lit places. This place was not so much dirty, nor very dark, but there was certain greasy feeling to it. Okay, let me put it this way: when I asked what they had on draft (like a typical whiteboy suburbanite) the bartender, a woman that looked like she might also double as the bouncer on a rough saturday night looked at me and said "we don't have draft, just bottles." So, to make myself look even more like a tourist I asked what they had in bottles... she rattled off a bunch of different brands, you know that good old whitebread beer: miller, millerlite, bud, budlite, etc, etc. Then she said the magic words: "Iron City." I stopped her right there and ordered me an Iron City. That beer is cheap, but man, is it good! And the wings.... friends, if you're ever even near Addison, PA on rte 40, stop at the Anchor and get you some wings! That's all I have to say about that, to quote Mr. Gump.

It was a wonderful time. It was something I needed. This was the first vacation vacation I'd been on since February. I'd used all my vacation and personal time helping out when my dad got sick. So, for both my mom and I it was a welcome break. I think we both felt a lot better about life and ourselves when we came back. Though,I must admit, there is a bit of shock and not a little let-down coming back to the 'burbs after beig amongst all the beauty of the Garrett County nature.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Went to Accident, Didn't Want to Leave

Its always a bit of a let down to come home from a vacation. This time it was particularly so. My mom and I went to Western Maryland, Accident, to be exact, for a few days. For two days I did nothing, and I mean this almost literally, except sit on a porch and look out on to God's great creation. Let me put it to you this way, this is how "rural" Garrett County is: there aren't any Starbucks in the immediate area. I'm not really sure where a Starbucks is and I'm okay with that. It was a big deal, and I mean a huge deal, when Garrett County got its first McDonald's in the late 80's or early 90's.

I had an opportunity to visit with Rev. Chaz Lehman and his newly minted bride. They had just gotten home from their honeymoon when I walked by and introduced myself. This was the first time I'd been back to Accident (The Cove) since my father's death in February, so I took the opportunity to visit his grave, I'd wished I'd had a bucket of water and some rags, a bird had crapped on it sometime in the past. I wiped it off the best I could, but alas there was some left. He would of been well pleased with his spot in the cemetery, he is next to Harvey and Pauline Harmon, two of his perishoners. Down the row is Hubert Thomas as well as Paul Thomas and a few others.

The high school I went to has gotten noticably bigger in physical plant than it was when I was there. I'd say its probably almost doubled in size. So much for the little school.

We also had the opportunity to check out a fairly new attraction down in McHenry. Its a manmade whitewater river. Its much more fancy than something you'd see in a water park. From what I understand the US Whitewater Olympic Team was doing some practicing there the day we were atop that particular mountain.

I said to someone last week that Accident was my home. I was asked how long I'd lived there and I said just about ten years. He then asked me how long I'd lived here in Indiana. I told him just about six years. He looked at me and said "so, Indiana is your home." Well, I guess, but I live here. Accident and Garrett County and Western Maryland are my home collective. I grew up there, for the most part. I lived there from my sixth grade year to my first sophomore year in college, when I graduated from Garrett Community College. We didn't move until 1999, I was in Clarion University by then. Going to Accident is much more than a trip, no sometimes, to me its almost a pilgrimage.

We are safely home and my vacation ends on Monday. Soon, another adventure will start. I'll enter the world of university librarian. But for the time being, I'll let the pleasant memories of Accident wash over me in tranquility.

Friday, July 11, 2008


I had a dentist appointment this morning. I don't like going to the dentist. Never have, probably never will. I'm somewhat uncomfortable with people sticking their latex covered fingers into my mouth. My mouth is only so big and yet there's two sets of fingers, the dentist and his assisstant, pushing and pulling and poking. Its not much fun. The right side of my face, particularly my tongue is numb. My bone doesn't feel like bone so much as an old piece of wood. The dentist assisstant, a cute girl named Bonnie, described the feeling as "poofy." As good a description as any I suppose.

Whenever I go to the dentist I alway have two images in my head. The first is, of course, the sadistic dentist in Little Shop of Horrors. The other is the Bill Cosby doing his imitation of what happens when you've gotten your mouth numbed by novicaine. Funniest thing ever.

The tricky thing about going to the dentist is the afterdentist part. Getting something to drink is a bit difficult. The tongue being two sizes too big is another. And the third, at least for me, is the fear of biting off my lip, but that's the breaks kid, as they say. Thems the breaks.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bookshelves, Once Again

I am essentially done cleaning my father's office. I took the last batch of books, 13 boxes, to HalfPriceBooks this afternoon. That was the second of two loads, actually. The first was taken earlier in the morning. All told, today's "haul," if I can call it that amounted to fifty bucks. We were able to get roughly 200 dollars for everything. That's about a hundred dollars more than we were offered by a "bookdealer" who came to look at my dad's library about two weeks ago.

As I've written earlier, my dad had very definite interests, mainly World War II, presidential history, and Civil War. There were other topics, but those were the main three. A few years back he decided to take off all the dustcovers of his books. He did this to "make more room" on his shelves. It wouldn't of been so bad if he hadn't thrown away said covers, but he did. So, as a result the value of the books (monetarily to a collector, let's say) was cut by more than half. I have learned that the book collector doesn't necesarily care about what's inside the book, so long as the bookcover is pretty.

I should have kept count of how many box loads I took out. I probably took about twenty boxes today all told; I kept using the same boxes over and over again. So, now I have his empty bookcases. There are actually five. Three of them match, the other two don't match. The other two are from Walmart, or someplace like that and we're going to get rid of them. One of the bottom shelves is broken, but the other bookcase looks to be in pretty good shape. The other three, are big 'cases. They were made by a parishoner of my dad's in South Dakota. They're probaly close to 45 years old, if not a bit older than that and they are still in pretty good shape. They're banged up a bit, that shouldn't be surprising since they moved around the country five or six times. They have little black lines on them, those lines are actually kind of endearing. My father took a Sharpie marker to them one time. He marked off where the shelves went on each case so he could set his books up liek they were before we moved. I used to get on him about that, telling him to clean them off, but he wouldn't and, in retrospect, I'm kind of glad he didn't. It is those kind of things that bring a smile to me when I think about him.

Today, after I was all done with the books I sat down on the rug in his old office and just looked at the empty shelves. I smiled a little bit and I think I might of choked up a bit, too. It is strange the attachment we put on inanimate objects. Those bookcases: 7' tall, 39" wide, blonde wood. They are on hand, just bookcases. Well built bookcases, but bookcases. However, they are more than that, at least to me and my mom. Soon, I will start moving some of my books onto my dad's shelves. I guess they are technically "mine," now, but I will alway refer to them as "my dad's shelves." I know that I've used the picture that sits atop this entry before, but for some reason, I really love that picture. It doesn't show all of his books, but it shows the vast majority of them.

It has been a cathartic excercise, this. Sifting through a life through books, I know I've written that before, please forgive my repetion. But it has been a good experience. Going through his books, touching them, it has been act of "letting go." I didn't cry or really mourn my father's death. I think part of the reason is my Faith in the Word of God, but also the fact that I had a month with him after he got sick. We were able to say our goodbyes, it wasn't a surprise. In fact, on some level there might have been relief, as horrible as that might sound. I knew that if he had survived he would have hated life. So, I was able to talk to him as I went through his books. I found myself "asking" him why'd you get this book dad? Did you ever even read this one? I flipped through each book to look for things he might have squirreled away. I found piced of paper that held his place where he left off reading, I found pamphlets from places he went to that had something to do with the topic of the book (I didn't find any money or anything like, though).

On a weird level, it was fun. I enjoyed going through the things. It was also satisfying on another level being able to discover him. Yes, he is missed, but I'll always have him through his bookcases. And for that, I am well pleased and grateful.

Friday, July 04, 2008

A Found Picture

I was digging around on my "my pictures" program this evening when I found this picture. Its a picture of my father and my two cats (Woody, on the left, and Emma, on the right). I haven't the foggiest idea what they are looking at, or why my father is smiling. Its seems to be have taken in the fall, or winter. Either way, it is a snapshot that really captures him and his general outlook on life. I just thought I'd share it. In its own way it is a beautiful picture.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Staycation

I tried reading Jack Kerouac's On the Road a couple times. I never got very far into it. I'm not sure if it was the writing style, the topic, or just my frame of mind, but I never really, to use a beat term: dug it, baby. I tried to read the thing probably three times and never got much further than. I did however, listen to it on cd one summer as drove to and from work. Matt Dillon read it and I was able to get through it. I think it helped that Matt Dillon's somewhat gravely voice kind of fit my idea of the tone of the book, if you will.

Did listening to it help me to enjoy the book any more? Not really. It became very repitious and I discovered the Kerouac tended to repeat phrases over and over again in his narrative. The one I remember that really started to bug me was "into the night." It got to the point of fingers on a chalkboard for me.

I may not have really liked the book, but I do appreciate that mythology that has been born because of it. For example that drug fueled manic writing over a three week period on a scroll. Truman Capote once quipped "that's not writing, that's typing" in reference to On the Road. I find the mythology to be quite interesting, actually.

The scroll that Kerouac wrote his famous opus on is now housed, for public presentation, in the Indianapolis Musuem of Art. It's gonig to be on display until late September. I'm planning on checking it out sometime this summer. It'll be cool to see the "sacred text" as one of the weekly newspapers here in Indy called it. From what I gather it was not typed on Associated Press scrolled paper, but instead something akin to tracing paper.

The owner of the Indianapolis Colts, Jim Irsay, owns the scroll. He paid upwards of two million dollars for it. When he bought it, he promised that he would allow it to be displayed and allow researchers acces to it. He's keeping his promise.

So, one of these days soon, I'm going to trek up to the IMA and give it an old looksee and I'm gonna dig on it, baby.

In Which Your Faithful Narrator Cues the Talking Heads

I had one of those "oh, great" moments this evening while flipping around channels on the tv-- and I meant that in a totally factitious way. I stumbled upon CNN's Live with Larry King, and there was a panel of guys on telling America how the "young vote" might go. I hadn't heard of two of them before. The one I had heard of was Luke Russert. His tagline under his talking head was "independent voter." The other two chaps, were "Obama Supporter," and "McCain Supporter." I always find those topics to be interesting. The reason I found it to be so interesting is this: Luke Russert is now the voice of just-out-of-college America. Six weeks ago no one heard of him and suddenly he's an expert.

I'll give you this: he was articulate. He seemed to have basic facts down and could site sources and such. The other two, they just wanted the Bully Pulpit.

Luke also did a great laugh-out-loud intreptation of James Carvell. That was funny.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

On Books and Bookcases

I slept like a rock last night. I don't think I moved an inche. That's a good thing because I moved a mountain of books yesterday, this included a bookcase. I got serious yesterday about my dad's books. I went through everything. I seperated books by topic, sort of. In the process they got mixed up, but that's okay. I seperated theology books (this includes a full box of Luther's Works, not the whole set, but probably about ten or so). There are six boxes of theology books sitting by the window. They may be taking a trip to the Fort sometime this summer. Give em to the cash strapped seminarian, right? Hopefully, it won't make me cash strapped to take them up there... gas at four dollars a gallon?

I have, I don't know, seven boxes of things to go to Half-price books. They won't give me anything for them, but they'll be out of the house. Those boxes contain mainly softcovers and things like that. And then there are four bookcases full of books that hopefully, we'll be able to sell to someone who we contacted. He seems interested in them, hopefully he'll be able to come on Thursday to look at them.

Don't worry, I kept some books. Not many, I have too many of my own, but I did keep a few; mainly, art books, some books about NYC, and a few of his presidential biographies that looked interesting. I keep telling myself that I can't keep everything. I can't, and I really don't want to.

Because of what my father did for a living, minister, he had a lot of books for study, but he also had rather varied interests. He was a history buff and loved to read biographies. He was a New Yorker by birth, a Brooklynite, and when he was a kid he would go to Broadway from time to time to see a play. When he went to seminary in Springfield and then took his first call to South Dakota he couldn't just pop over to Broadway on a whim, so he had broadway come to him. He got involved with a bookclub that would send him a play script a month, hardbound. Really nice, actually. He was a member of this club for over thirty years, so he had a lot of playscripts. He also had playrecords. Full plays recorded. He loved nothing more than going into his office, shutting the door and putting on a playrecord and listening to it.

Its not that much fun. Its a lot of work, but I have found some comfort in the process. There are few books that I kept mainly for sentimental reasons. Those books I know meant alot to him, or there is a story behind them.

The picture at the top of this post is my dad's library. I took it one evening when I was fooling around with my digital camera. I took it a few months before he died. If you look carefull you'll see three fairly large, "blonde" bookcases, and a smaller darker colored one. The three big bookcases are over 40 years old. They were made by a parishoner at my dad's first church in South Dakota. They are about seven feet tall and four feet wide and are strong as ever. Supposedly the original plan was to make them one big unit, but the guy who made them decided it would be easier to three individual instead one big one. This actually turned out to be a good thing. They have been moved around the country six times and have been used as a faux wall at least once between rooms. Those, I'm keeping.

The process continues. Slowly, but it continues. Its alot of work.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Letter to Luke Russert

Dear Luke,

I'm sure you're still in shock. Your dad died so suddenly. The hardest thing you had to do this morning was get out of bed and look at the front page of the paper and see the headline that your father had died yesterday. I'll try not to say the cliches, you'll hear plenty of those over the next few days. That's part of the territory. It just kind of has to happen. Its part of the "play," if you get my meaning. Don't worry, it helps to some degree.

Your father meant a lot to a lot of people. Millions of people looked at your father as a friend. The first thought I had when I heard your father died was "whose going to man the eraseboard this november?" I'm sure I wasn't alone.

You will hear a lot of good things about your father in the coming days. If you watched the television or looked at a newspaper within the last 24 hours you've probably already heard and read some of them. Those are the things you need to hear and remember. When my father died those little words and rememberances helped me more than anything. They inspired me to live differently to look to the future differently.

I've found myself getting a lump in my throat when I see something on TV about your father. He was a good man, I can tell that. He lived what he believed and he loved unconditionally. Those things people are going to say, those platitudes and those condolences they'll be heartfelt, let them settle in deep in the little place between your soul and heart, next to your dad memories. Those will settle in and grow. You'll get your strength there.

Take care, man. Things are going to be okay.



Friday, June 13, 2008

In Which Your Faithful Narrator Steps Back Into the Career Stream for Another Go at It

I don't know what to call what I had today. Was it an interview? Maybe. Let's call it an interview just for fun and semantics. A friend of mine has gotten a job as a librarian in one of the universities in Atlanta. He works at the reference desk at IUPUI's main library. I stopped by last week to wish him well and godspeed. While I chatted with him I gave him my resume and asked him to pass it along to the person in charge. He did and also added a recommendation to it. I got an email the other day saying that the librarians wanted to meet with me and talk about the job. So, today I went and had a little sit down with them.

It has some bad and some good aspects to it. I think the good outweigh the bad. The good is the pay. Its an hourly position, but the pay is quite a bit more than I'm makeing now at my current position for my current company. Also, I would be considered a part-time librarian, not a "reference assistant," or a "graduate assistant," or something like that; so, for resume purposes, it would look better on the resume. I would not only be manning a reference desk for some of the time, but also doing other library functions and behind the scenes work. This is experience I badly need.

Another "good," if you will is it would be a tremendous foot in the door for me. I'd like to work in the academic realm and getting this position would be a definite step in that direction. Also, since gas has decided to go up to the stratosphere in price being 12 miles from home is nice, too.

There are two bad aspects that aren't bad, bad, but might cause some concern eventually. There are no benefits, that is health, etc. And it might not be there after a year. Its a "soft money" position. That means that it is funded, but it might not be funded the next year. I would have to go down to part-time at my current position at the bookstore, approximately 20 or 25 hours. I can't go much lower than that because I wouldn't be able to keep my health benefits.

Hopefully, I'll find out sometime in the next week or so wheather I get the position. I feel pretty confident I will. They seemed to be impressed with my limited resume, which is always a good feeling.

Well, I guess we'll see what happens.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

if on ampty put 2 dollars how much will that give you in you tank

If there is one thing that really makes Emma, my little white cat, metaphysically scrath her head, it is this: watering plants. She's a smart cat, really, almost too smart for her own good. Sometimes, if I watch her close I can almost see her little feline wheels a-turnin as she figures and postulates a new problem. She has yet to crack the whole watering-the-plants-thing. She just doesn't get it. She usually has the look of "hey, I can drink that!" as I pour a half-comsume bottle of water into the plant on my desk. Its a green, leafy thing. I think I've heard it referred to a "wandering Jew," I don't know if that's the proper term, but I guess that'll do for a name. Anyhow, I just watered the said Wandering Jew plant and Emma, who was reclining quietly on my desk, promptly walked (with purpose) over to the plant and watched as all the water slowly soaked into the potting soil. All the while her ears perked and her eyes wide. She looked at me and gave me a look that said "why did you waste that water?" I don't deprive her of water, really I don't.

I had sent a resume and application to Moline, IL, for a librarian position I saw listed on lisjobs a few weeks back. I got a letter in the mail today, its the typical "thanks, but no thanks letter" I've been getting lately. Its okay. I'll be a bookpimp for a while longer.

Speaking of jobs, I went to a cattle call job fair yesterday. Mainly just to see what one was like. I stayed for about a half an hour. Mainly, the exhibitors were "colleges" that had training programs for various jobs. I will say this, though, my idea of "dressing for success" and some of the other folks idea of same are two entirely different things.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

i put the pedal to the metal trying to get back to your love

I'm not sure I have anything worth writing about, but its been a while since I stopped by and put my poorly written missives on this great thing called the world wide web. I have to wonder if the title is from a song lyric, I don't rightly know; its one of those keyword searches that landed someone here in my little cyber slice of heaven.

So, I got nothin, so I won't write nothin.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


I've been doing a lot of reading lately. I think I'm to something like 15 books this year. I've made a list of the books I've read (I'll post it eventually). One of the cool perks I have at work is I can borrow hardcover books. I borrow them, read them, and then return them. It's a great money saver, but it also allows me to become familiar with product. The last book I read was Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk. I'm not a huge Chuck fan. I've read FIght Club a few years back and have listened to another one of his books, a nonfiction that I think was called Stranger than Fiction, but that's is.

It wasn't a bad book, but it didn't exactly set my world on fire. As per usual, and this one reason why I don't generally read Chuck, the book is rather disturbing. It is about a 600 man gangbang. It is written from the viewpoint of Mr. 72, Mr. 137, Mr. 600, and the "talent wrangler." We are, for the most part, kept in the "waiting room," if you will, which is fine, I don't need a, pardon the pun, blow by blow account of what's happening upstairs with the aging pornstar actress. There are some twists and turns in the book and at times, I felt a bit bewildered. The book is short, just over 200 pages, so reading it was being a fast moving train. It was tough to keep up. It kept me off balance a bit, I'm sure that was the intention. Chuck obviously did reasearch, he certainly delved into the "Babylon-esque" world of Hollywood. A dead movie star? We found out he or she died. I guess I'd recommend it, but with reservations. Its not going to help you learn or figure out the bigger things in life, for example Pi. Its not even all that entertaining. Any book that you have to read while looking through spread fingers because your stomach is turning is not a very good "relaxing read." I'd give it a B+, I guess.

Friday, May 16, 2008

i put the pedal to the metal trying to rush back home to your love

I've decided to do a new series of posts, or at least use a different way of coming up with titles. I won't completely do away with the "In Which Your Faithful Narrator..." series, but I think I'm going to start doing a "here's how you found me" series. What I'm going to do is just use the most interesting ones as titles for posts. That's what this title is, I saw it on my little tracker that I have.

I had to take my cat, the big gray one, to the vet today. Turns out he had a toothache and had to have the offending tooth yanked out of his gob. So, the little guy is hanging out in the vet 'til tomorrow.

On another frustrating note: my dad was a play lover. He loved drama. He had many hardbound play scripts that he had gotten from a club called Fireside Playhouse, or something like that. Well, because we just can't keep everything from his library we have started the long process of sorting through his books. Today, I took five boxes of play scripts to Half Price Books. I know that one doesn't get much when they sell books to Half Price, but more than anything I think its the "I got rid of it and its not cluttering up my life any more" feeling. Guess how much they offered me for five boxes of books well over a hundred plays. Never mind, I'll tell you: four dollars. Not four dollars a box, but four dollars all told. I couldn't in good conscious do it. They sit in my trunk. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them. I'd like to donate them, I think to a library or something.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Final Piece

The above picture is a polaroid of my father's headstone. It was placed last week or so. My mom and I haven't been to Accident, MD yet, to actually see the stone, but we will sometime in the near future.

My dad would of like the stone. It fits the cememtary and isn't ostentatious at all. It blends in nicely. The most important part of the whole thing is that he is amongst his congregation. Many of the folks he ministered to when he served St. John's are around him.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

you've been alone, you've been afraid i've been a loof

The title is one of the "key words" that was used to find my blog. I get a kick out of seeing the words people use to find my blog. in a strange way, that title is a poem. What's funny is this: through misspelling, they found my blog. I do believe that the "i've been a loof" should actually be "i've been aloof."

I don't have much more to say than that. It just kind brightened up my day.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I wish I had some good news on the job front, but I don't. I was again denied gainful library employment because of the great experience cunundrum. I was not hired because I didn't have experience that I needed. How does one get said experience if one doesn't get hired? So, that search continues. I will, for the foreseeable future push books and contiue to apply for gainful library employment.

Friday, April 25, 2008

In Which Your Faithful Narrator Muses About...

My father's headstone is being placed this weekend. So, he is no longer in an unmarked grave. Hopefully, my mom and I will be able to get to Accident, MD in the very near future to see it and plant/lay flowers.

I have had too much coffee today. I'm a little jittery and a bit jumpy. I asked for the wrong sized coffee at the BN Starbuck's cafe. I wanted a grande, but I asked for a venti. That's a bad idea. So now I have a venti sized coffee coursing through my veins and my brain is wired. I'm a bit a jittery. Its okay, though, because I'm doing my little weekly shift in the Law Library and it can pretty quiet here, particularly now. All the wanna be lawyers are studying their collective brains out, its finals time. Good for them. Better them than me.

Its a beautiful day here in Indiana. One of those days that one wishes for in the middle of December or January when its been gray for six weeks and the ground is not only frozen solid, but covered with a thick layer of iced over snow. Yes, this is one of those days that gets we who dwell above the Mason-Dixon Line cherish above all others. This is the kind of day that makes those cold, dreary days of winter worth it.

I walked around today in shorts and sandals for the first part of the day. I went to Lowes with my mother to get gardening things (mulch and topsoil and a few plants, a new rake and shovel). That will be the task for Monday, hopefully it won't too much this weekend.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Your Narrator Smiles & Claps for Joy

I have always contended that there is no such thing as "six degrees of seperation" in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. No, its more like three degrees of seperation. Case in point: Rev. Lehmann: I don't know him personally, not yet at least, but I know who he is. And he is the new pastor at the church my father served at from 1986-1995, in Accident, Maryland.

I grew up in Accident. I went from middle school through sophomore year of college in Garrett County. A case can be made that Accident is what made me who I am today.

I look forward to meeting Rev. Lehmann face to face in the very near future, most likely at his installation service.

It is with much prayer and joyful tidings that I welcome Rev. Lehmann to my childhood church.

Friday, April 18, 2008

I have learned on unadulterated truth when it comes to libraries. They are glacially slow in their hiring. I had my second interview with the library Thursday last. I was hoping they'd let me know yay or nay by today, but alas, it was not to be. So, I sit and wait. I checked the website today and the job is still posted, that gives me hope that it hasn't yet been filled and when it is filled it will be yours truly that fills it.

We had an earthquake here in in Indy today. Supposedly we could feel the earthquake that occurred somewhere near Evansville. It was, again, supposedly, 5pointsomething on the Richter Scale, but I didn't feel a thing. I was driving at the time. By the time I got to work everything had settled down. I was asked "did you feel the earthquake?" My first thought was "too much crack in the morning is a bad thing." However, it turns out we did in fact have an earthquake. We had some shakin and rattelin and rollin goin on. And, for all intense and purposes missed the big event.

Friday, April 11, 2008

In Which Your Narrator Bites His Cyber Fingernails

I had my second interview yesterday for the the Adult Services Librarian position. I think it went well, but I'm never really sure when it comes to interviews. It felt good and I think I answered the questions they asked me alright, but still, there's this little nagging feeling going on inside that scares me. Now, its a waiting game. I'll find out sometime next week if I get the job or not. I'm praying, but I'm trying to make sure I pray "Your will be done," not "my will be done."

I've been doing mental pro/con lists about the job. And the pros outweigh the cons significantly. There really aren't any cons. In the pro column is: four miles from home, paycheck would be much, much better than I'm getting now, its in my "field," I'm ready for something new. Those certainly outweigh the only con I can think of: "I enjoy bookselling." Yeah, I do, but that's not something I can live on.

So, I pray and hope. I have my fingers crossed and my hands folded, maybe it should be the other way around. I'm nervous.