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.