Wednesday, November 26, 2003


Don't you hate it when someone reads your email over your shoulder? I know it's easy to do but at least pretend you're not reading my email. You don't have to lean forward and put your fat head in my direct line of sight. That's all I'm saying. Be oblique. Employ a little subterfuge. Look up the word 'tact' in the dictionary.

Speaking of tact

When I was in high school I worked for a ski resort in Northern Michigan. Some of you know that. I worked as a houseman in the housekeeping department. This meant I delivered clean laundry to the maids and brought the dirty laundry to the laundry room.

The maintenance department was in the basement right next to the housekeeping office. I worked a lot of nights at the resort (this is why I never did my homework, Mom. I can't believe you and Dad never figured that out) and there was always a maintenance guy on duty also.

The only one I remember is a guy that was probably in his early 20's who had just graduated from college with an electronics degree (so he said). I'll call him Bob since I forgot his name years ago. We got along well and he had gone to the same high school as my step-brother and he would tell me stories about him. I was initially surprised to learn that my step-brother was considered a half-retarded burn out. I always remembered him as being older and more worldly than me. He did get into pot early.

One of the dangers of working in Northern Michigan is that you can get snowed it at work and end up trying to find a place to crash. Not a problem for us that worked at a resort that never had to turn people away. One night it started snowing pretty heavily and Bob had been brought to work by his girlfriend, I believe. She was able to leave early and get back to Traverse City, where they lived together, which was about 25 miles away. Bob had to stay and work his shift. Instead of spending the night like a sensible person Bob decided he had to go home that night. I think he was afraid that if he didn't get home that night he might have to spend the next night at the resort also. He decided to take a cab.

Since this is years before ATM's Bob had no cash for a cab. He axed me if I had any money and I had a twenty dollar bill in my pocket. He asked to borrow. I stutttered and mumbled, scratched my head and said, "I...don't...know." It wasn't that I didn't trust him but in the mid-eighties twenty bucks was a lot of dough. I had never loaned anyone an amount of money that even approached $20. He convinced me it would be OK and I loaned him the dough. At 11 I drove home and he caught a cab to Traverse City.

The snow let up during the night and life went on as usual the next day. I got to work after school and after clocking in went immediately to the maintenance department and found Bob. He was talking to one of his co-workers. I had been fretting over the $20 all the previous night all that day at school. I butted in and muttered something along the lines of "hey...uh, Bob. You got that twenty bucks?" He gave me a nasty look and said, "I'll be with you in a second."

I slunk away and stood outside the door of the maintenance room. A few minutes later he came out and gave me a twenty dollar bill and said, "Man, Eddie you need to learn some tact." He wasn't rude but he was firm and I did learn a lesson in tact. I still have to remind myself of his lesson occasionally when I get impatient. Especially at work.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003


Did you notice this morning that the air was crisp? You know, crisp. The kind of air that kinda stings when you take your first breath outdoors and you don't have to waffle about whether or not to take your jacket to work. The kind of weather that turns a young man's fancy to love. Wait, that would be daylight and darkness. Nevermind on that.

It is the kind of weather that reminds me that I haven't found my gloves I probably lost late last winter. Damn those bastards at Southpark Mall for running off Sears! I couldn't believe how hard it was to find a decent pair of gloves at that fucking mall last week. I went to three different department stores and left the mall in a huff after each of these over-priced and understocked glossy and perfumed meterosexual stores either didn't have their gloves in yet (what the fuck is up with that?) or had gloves that were higher priced than ties at the Knot Shoppe.

I betcha I could have purchased a nice pair of gloves for less than twenty bucks at Sears in about ten minutes. Who knew how important Sears was to my life? I didn't.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

New Bowie

I've been listening to David Bowie since 8th grade. Let's call it the mid eighties. The first album I ever owned by Bowie was called "ChangesOneBowie." It was on cassette and I remember that the song "John, I'm only dancing" confused me like nothing else had before.

I ordered the new Bowie album called 'Reality' from my favorite website for CD purchasing, Cheap CD's. I got it a few days ago and I've played it once a day since then.

When I initially listened to it on the sound system here at home I wasn't crazy about it. Bowie is like Tom Waits. Each album I buy by Waits or Bowie I initially don't like. My expectations are too high, I imagine.

I'm a headphone guy. I firmly believe you can't fully appreciate a piece of music unless you play it in your headphones. I've been playing new Bowie album while waiting for and riding the bus and on my ten-minute walk from the bus stop to work. And I like it. I like it a lot. It's not a great album. It's almost unfortunate that so much of Bowie's previous work is great because even a really really really really really really really really really really good album like this one pales when compated to "Ziggy Stardust," "Alladin Sane" and "Hunky Dory." Not many recording artists have had runs like that.

If you don't already enjoy Bowie you probably won't like this album because you won't give it the time it deserves to wrap itself around you. But if you dig Bowie, like me, you'll start to love it after a few days.
Michael Chabon

I am currently reading my third book by Michael Chabon (pronounced 'SHAY-bon' in case you were wondering). I am reading "Wonder Boys." Mmmmm...that's good use of language. I am considering using the book in my first book talk this spring. In order to do a proper booktalk I think you have to read as much as you can by and about an author. I found an awesome essay he did comparing writing a novel to creating a golem. You can read it here.

Today I worked. The library I work at is open from 1-6 on Sundays. I don't mind working weekends because I enjoy the day off during the week and the three-day weekend you get the following weekend. Have I mentioned that before? Probably a few times. I repeat myself in conversation so why not in my blog?

Three of us work on my weekend shift. It consists of me, William and our boss lady. William was going on vacation for a week on Monday and it was pretty obvious he was ready to start his vacation. It wasn't like he was copping an attitude but he was obviously ready to go home before he left for work today. He was resolved to soldier on until we closed at six.

Since business was pretty slow boss lady let William go home early. He actaully got a little bouncy and beamed like lion cub chewing on a wildebeest leg. He adjusted his time card, wrapped up some final work stuff and got the hell out of Dodge.

There must have been about 30 people standing outside the library waiting for William to leave. We got busy as hell. At one point I was actually doing three things at once. I was helping a mother and a daughter find a biography of a person who died before 1850 that was over 200 pages long, I was signing up people for the internet and I was taking payments for computer printouts.

Boss lady and I handled it well. Neither of us flipped out and the mad rush only lasted about 30 minutes. We even joked about calling William and telling him to get back to work but we decided he probably wasn't answering his phone.

Whenever I get that busy I always think of Tom. There is nothing he enjoys more than the public and their needs.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

A note

Dear Giant SUV Driver,

A couple of days ago I was walking to work from my bus stop. As I was crossing an intersection I saw that you were going straight and the sedan behind you was going to turn right. The sedan almost pulled out and hit me because he could not see the intersection because you were piloting a vehicle as big as an adult Indian elephant and were blocking his view. Fuck you, Giant SUV Driver, you are an asshole.


P.S. This is not a joke. Really, fuck you. I hope you have a rollover crash real soon and all your children and a couple of your neighbor's children are in safety and booster seats that are not installed correctly and they bounce around the interior of your vehicle like popcorn in an air popper.

Leave Michael alone, goddammit!

These people know a worthy cause when they see one

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Back to your hole, puny human!

A few minutes ago I tried to make it to the bus stop so I could go to work. The thunderstorm rolling through town drove me back inside. I will attempt to get on the bus again in about three minutes. I am an American, I will prevail.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Always remember and don't ever forget

When you are fucked up you are not cool, funny or witty. You look like an idiot. That is all.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Rock em and sock em

Have I mentioned how good the new album by the Dirtbombs is? The album is called "Dangerous Magical Noise" and it is an achievement. It's the kind of rock and roll that makes you want to jump around the room and pump your fist in the air. Maybe even make that secret devil sign that Dutch was throwing the Tremont Music Hall a few weeks back. True followers of this blog will recall the pictures.

If you got an extra 12 bucks sitting around go to or or even your local record store and buy this stellar rock and roll album. Rock isn't dead it just moved to the Detroit underground.

What was that? You want more pictures of the Dirtbombs?

The Dirtbombs!

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Longevity again

Last week I attended a class for library employees. It's called "Reference Ropes Sources." Simply put it's a three hour class designed to familiarize you with the twenty reference sources that are carried by every branch no matter the size. I had the class before several years ago and I am now a highly trained reference librarian but it's good to have knowledgable people discuss useful material. The librarian that did most of the instructing was John from the main library and he knows his shit. It's always a learning experience when you hear someone speak about something he knows intimately. It was also nice that I was able to sit next a beautiful, smart and funny young lady from another branch who is ten big years younger than me. Sometimes it's just nice to sit next to a pretty girl.

I always forget that every class at the library begins with the instructors introducing themselves and them having the students do the same. This was the first class I had attended where I mentioned that I had been with the library for ten years. For the first time in my life a group of people murmured at something I had said. I remember thinking "are they impressed or was that fifteen people saying 'Jesus, I can't imagine being here ten years from?'" Wendell says it was a mixed reaction.
David Cross

If James reads this is he aware that David Cross is part of the cast of the Fox network show "Arrested Development?"
Mmmm...longevity pay

After ten years at the library you receive longevity pay with your mid-month paycheck. It's not a fortune but it looks good in your bank account. I put a good chunk of it in my savings account (notice I didn't say most of it) the rest I spent on books and music.

I've been wanting to hear the new David Bowie album and I found that you can't steal it off Kazaa because every track, no matter what it's called, turned out to be Jean Genie. Jean Genie is one of my favorite Bowie songs but I don't need an album's worth of it. So I bought the goddamn thing.

I also bought two short story collections by the the sciene fiction authors Arthur C. Clarke and Cordwainer Smith. Most of you probably never heard of Smith but he was an incredibly imaginative writer who wrote sporadically througout the fifties and sixties. If you ever pick up a good classic science fiction anthology you might see a story by him in there called "Alpha Ralpha Boulevard."

The Arthur C. Clarke book is a complete collection of his short stories. I checked it out from the library when it first came out a couple of years ago but it's so huge I didn't even come close to finishing it. It'll be nice to have it around so I can pick it up when the urge hits me.

William (friend I now work with) told me about a website I had never heard of. It's called Overstock and it's a great place to buy books. The prices are about %10 lower than Amazon's. Check em out, eh.

Friday, November 14, 2003

All hail the Dirtbombs

I just bought my pick for the best album of the year a couple of days ago. I bought the new album by the band called the Dirtbombs.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Rush slamming

I enjoying Rush bashing almost as much as W bashing. From Tom Tomorrow: "And so millions of Americans are now seriously eager to hear a drug addict with racist tendencies defending an AWOL convicted of DUI over false statements, broken promises, and unnecessary war -- as a way to make themselves feel morally superior."

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Going to work at noon

For the last four years at my old job I worked one night a week and the night I worked for the last few years was Thursday. Generally us library employees don't like working Thursday nights because when you have a Friday off for a long weekend after working the previous weekend it shortens that long weekend by 3 1/2 hours because you are going home at 9:00 instead of 5:30.

I like working the noon to nine shift because I am a night person. At my new job we work two nights a week. My two nights are the best two you can get: Monday and Tuesday. I have mentioned working three nights to my new boss and she said she will consider it. I think it's because there are a couple of my co-workers that would rather not work two nights. We'll see how that develops.

So right now I am listening to the Mike Collins show on WFAE and Henry Louis Gates is his guest and at 10:00 I get to listen to the first hour of the Diane Rehm show. I am preparing to fix me up a nice big breakfast also. The days I work at noon are the only days during the work week that I have a chance to make a nice fat breakfast of eggs and hashbrowns. Days like tomorrow when I work at 8:30 I'll be lucky to get there on time let alone take the time to make a nice breakfast. I love working at noon.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Stick it in my vein or I used to read and play guitar

I bought an Xbox a couple of months ago. I had saved up some dough and I had done some reading about the console game systems on the market and the Xbox seemed like a good deal to me. My impression was that the game systems had finally caught up to what I thought they could always be. The future was here and I wanted one.

I have always been a minor gamer during my life. I had a Commodore 64 when I was a fledgling adult and an Odyssey 2 when I was younger. My dad bought the Odyssey 2 for me. It was a pretty strong volley in the war he had with my mother for the affections of my sister and me after the divorce. It was a pretty one-sided fight since he was fighting for affection and my mother was more concerned with our well-being. He was always seen as "cooler" in our eyes but we never wanted to live with him. Kids know sometimes.

After high school I joined the Marines. After spending a couple of years in Okinawa I was stationed in California. I took my Commodore 64 with me and my friends and I spent many hours entertaining ourselves in weekends playing a winter olympics game. We actually spent most of our time playing the ski jumping portion of the game. It's funny how, even on a primitive game system, a well designed game is fun to play. It's not the technology it's the imagination and design. I compare it to a book and its cover.

A couple of years ago I bought a Sega Saturn. I did no research at all and I bought the game system right before they stopped making them. What a waste of money. I did manage to find a fun Winter Olympics game that I have had fun playing with Chris and Wendell.

Now I got the Xbox. It's a powerful game system. It makes my old and now forgotten Sega Saturn seem like a dead leaf with dog poop on it. I've bought about five games for it and I am done buying games for a while. The games I have purchased have been a lot of fun to play and I have even borrowed a first-person shooter from a neighbor that has a head to head mode that has entertained Chris, Wendell and me for hours.

I do have a concern though. This system is so powerful and th games I have are so well-designed that It's as addictive as good sex. No wait, it's as addictive as great sex. The kind of sex that makes you lose all inhibition and make noises you only make when you stub your toe real hard. The kind of sex that dispels any post-humping depression and you just want to snuggle up into the perspiring body next to you. That, my friends, is the Xbox.

Sometimes it scares the hell out of me.

So, George, what did you do at school today?
Lester Bangs quote

From the new collection: "Somebody's gotta tell people what they're gonna do tomorrow or they may not even get out of bed."

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Presidunce Bush attempts a stiff arm while returning a kickoff
The blessed bus driver

Yesterday's post may cause you to think that I consider all Christians to be fuck heads. That is not true.

For a long time I used to loathe the phrase "have a blessed day." I would hear it on answering machines and it would be used as a way to say goodbye on the phone, sometimes by someone who was less than polite before.

Then I met the happy Christian bus driver. She drove on my route for about six weeks and she was always happy. Always. She was even all friendly and smily when "Aunt Flo" came to visit. I always greeted her back when I boarded the bus. If you say hi to me in a nice way I'll respond in kind.

We developed a rapport. A neat little affable relationship based upon smiles and hellos and her wishing upon me of having a blessed day each time I disembarked the bus. I never resented her wishing a blessed day upon me because I really thin she meant it. It didn't become another useless piece of language like saying "bless you" after someone sneezes or the "how ya doin'" used when you pass someone in a hallway.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Sometimes people ask me why I'm not a Christian

Reason #2 is because I missed the 1984 Tigers clinching the World Series because of confirmation class.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Cold Bag

Riding my bike to work this morning I stopped by the Harris Teeter to buy a 20 ounce Mountain Dew. Mmmm....Mountain Dew. I stuck the bottle in by backpack and headed on to work. I had unintentionally placed the bottle in my bag so that the bottle was pressed against my lower back. I could feel the cold sweetness of that soda and propelled it me onward to work and sugary satisfaction.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Mystic River

I just got back from seeing the new Clint Eastwood directed movie Mystic River.

If you haven't read any reviews then I won't spoil the plot like most reviews. I'll just say that it has Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon giving just fucking amazing performances. I just looked at a segment of a review from the New Yorker that likens it to a Greek Tragedy and that sums it up perfectly.

Like his classic flick Unforgiven there are no good guys or bad guys in this movie. The characters are flawed, real and worthy of empathy.

There is a great night shot where the camera is moving over water towards a building where light is leaking out through a door or a window. I almost felt the chill coming off the water.

It's pacing was unhurried like Shawshank Redemption and the story unfolds with a good natural feel. There wasn't a single chase scene or explosion. It's not a movie I will see again for a long time becaus it was disturbing but it's one I'm glad I saw.