Old Town

Old Town
Pioneer Square

Monday, December 1, 2014

Reb MacRath's Seattle Rock: V. 3: 12/1/2014

KATAKLYSM death metal heavy hard rock concert concerts crowd  a wallpaper background

Nuts and Bolts

So, we've come to the critical landmark: three months. Enough time in any venture to know if we're on track...or running into landmines. What have I done in the last month? Well, I:
--Finished revising and proofing Red Champagne
--Sent it off for formatting.
--Entertained my first out-of-town guest, photographer Paul Cotter.
--Reinvented my online image with new Seattle shots by Paul.
--Ramped up the workouts at Gold's Gym. (See Sports section below.)
--Consulted with my new ebook formatter about scanning a physical copy of Mastery. It's one of the three remaining horror novels I wrote as Kelley Wilde. Scanning will spare me the nightmare of having to retype an old book from scratch and free me to work on a new book.
--Began giving more serious thought to moving when my lease expires--to another studio, but without an income ceiling.
--At the same time, began to plan for finding better-paying work on the same schedule of 3 days a week.

City Beats

Seattle is:
--A city coolly on the go. Briskly and efficiently. Those of us who'd gotten used to teeth-grinding waits in other places love how smoothly this town goes about its business. Even the bureaucrats are in the groove. There's no need to go postal at the P.O. or DMV--you'll be in and out in a relative blink. The buses run on something phenomenally close to real schedules. And the bus drivers mean business: they've no time to waste, so pay up or get off. So desperate bums, meaning business as well, scream for change at Walgreens and more speed in being rung up while their partners scream, 'Let's GO! The frigging bus is coming!"

--12th Ave Arts: a new and brilliant combo of retail shops, theater, community meeting spots and affordable apartments in one of the city's most happening zones.

!2th Ave Arts should be a model for study nation-wide.  In Charlotte, New York or San Francisco, the apartments would rent for $2000-$3000 a month, if not more. Here they're well under a thou. It's quite a story. Have a look:


--Clear and sensibly placed signs posting holiday schedules for busesLots of luck finding these in many other cities. Here they're posted through the town and true to the town's spirit as a city on the go: Plan ahead, folks...Get in gear...Similarly, Seattle is planning a series of live feeds on screens around town: to-the-,minute updates on the status of your bus.

--Belltown...on 2nd Ave.

Seeing this section of Belltown in the early morning, as I had on my first trip, is to pretty much miss it entirely. At  night, the district comes alive: a bright and bustling hive of cafes, bars, restaurants and boutiques vaguely reminiscent of San Francisco's Union Street. Easy to see why Seattle's most densely populated neighborhood has been voted best place to retire in the metro area.



I continue to work out at Gold's M-F in 60-80 minute sessions and have booked a free session with one of their personal trainers. My focus has shifted from the parts prized by manly men--arms, chest and shoulders--expanding to work on my soft spots: weakish thighs, calves and forearms. Fitness and real strength for me lie in the overall picture. So I now focus on the small number of men who have their Gold's act together: persistently, chiseling classically balanced physiques.

Entertainment: Kicks of the Month

This will shock you, I know. It shocks me. What the hell: one of the high points of each day comes at the close, a half-hour before bed, With a cup of tea, I have at Latin again. A page or two a night, that's it. The discipline appeals to me. So does the regularity of the nightly ritual. And the challenge is a good one for a Slightly Older Guy. But there's an added benefit for a writer, or for anyone involved in a long-term pursuit: my perception of time becomes strengthened, as does my grip of the process of art. Though I'm reminded constantly of the minuscule progress I make every night, and the years of study that remain, I can also see the pages I've accomplished. And I'm reminded of the need to fix my sights on the lesson at hand.

Naturally, though--no dummy, I--when others wonder what I do for laughs, I say, "Oh, you know. The usual. I live, I laugh, I love. And you?"


Just finished reading: Dragon Knight by Diane Rapp. Though I'm not a big fantasy fan, I am a major fan of Rapp--and I wasn't at all disappointed. I mean, really, how could I resist the tale of a dragon changed to human form...and the spirits of dead rock musicians? Call it a shaggy dragon story, or call it what you will. A real page-turner with a laugh on almost every page.

Now reading: The Operator by Valerie Laws. I loved the first Bruce and Bennett crime thriller, The Rotting Spot and am delighted to find this entry every bit its match. Laws is a wonderful writer, with a wildly electric background: poetry, drama, literary fiction. Can't wait to start on this one.

Just finished writing: I finished work on Red Champagne and have just received the formatted manuscript, which I need to proof. Expected launch date: around 12/5.

In the works: Am starting to work on the groundwork for the next Boss MacTavin mystery.

And...This month's Red-Hot Recommendation from Reb:
A wonderful new online literary magazine put out by Richard Monaco, Leverett Butts and Scott Thompson. The first issue is terrific!


Getting into the groove of any smaller place means tuning into its rhythms. I have. And I find electrifying comfort in merging with the rituals that make an average day unique if performed with a full-bodied spirit...or at least a full-spirited body and mind. Each morning I fold up the sheets, blanket and comforter...stow them in the purple trunk...then convert the futon to a sofa. The Venetian blinds are opened to let in the sunlight and showcase the room. I shave, shower, wash my hair, Dress and load my pockets with coins, keys and so on from the dual caddy trays. A quick inspection. And then off I go.

I come home to a perfectly clean studio with a pleasant view glimpsed through the blinds. Time for the night's rituals. Many are morning reversals, of course. But, as a small space resident, I treat the old and the new chores alike. In fact, the whole daily cycle to me seems embodied in two sets of actions:

Unloading/reloading the caddies and opening/closing the blinds. Two spiritual arpeggios, one signaling a fresh new performance at dawn...one helping the spirit to wind down for sleep.

Here are my two treasured friends:

Ripoffs and Savvy Savings

1) Ripoff Alert: Starbucks sells a packaged Protein Pack for $4.95: 1 hardboiled egg, 2 small wedges of cheddar cheese, a tiny bit of whole grain bread, a packet containing a tablespoon of peanut butter, 4-5 grapes and 3-4 small wedges of an apple. Forget the convenience and think of the cost. You can make that yourself for well under a buck.
2) Savvy Savings: It pays to shop for certain things not only wisely but often. I'd planned to replace the major DVDs lost in my move by ordering through Amazon. A good plan for specialty items. But in Target I spied two DVD displays: for new films and TV shows. From retail experience, I knew these items come in batches...and when they're gone, they're gone. So, still without a DVD player, I bought the latest Bond film, Skyfall, and season 8 of 24. An Opportunity Shopper was born.

Breaking news, added 11/28: Attended my first-ever Doorbusters event, at Target, at 6 p.m., Thanksgiving night. And I arrived in time to get an RCA portable DVD player at $35 off. Also, DVDs were marked as low as $4-6, I added still more DVDs to my Seattle collection.

Further breaking news, added 11/30: An impulsive return to Target yesterday netted me the blender I've needed for so long. A 12-speed Black and Decker...at half price.


How could the month of December be anything other than blessing and blessed?

Whatever your faith or conviction, happy holidays to all of you!

Laptop Hoboing

My discovery of the month leads to a mini-reflection about Hobo Etiquette.

First off, the discovery: The Courtyard by Marriott Bistro, at 2nd Ave and Cherry, has become in just one visit my favorite cafe. It's huge, bright and beautifully furnished, with scores of single tables as well as long tables for groups. All of these have outlets, And the single tables also offer remote-controlled Dish TV. Food prices are a bit steep for most hobos but the Bistro serves Starbucks coffee at Starbucks prices. The cafe is open from 6:00-10:30 a.m. daily, reopening later for Happy hour. I had no trouble sitting, with just a coffee, for an hour. But this leads to something we should keep in mind.

Hobo Etiquette.  Feed the tip jar when you order. Get to know the staff by name and thank them for their courtesy. And know that it's time to leave if a large crowd of tourists comes in.


 Wanted: one night in the arms of a woman who'll make me scorn only a night.

Ask El Reberoo

Chiquita B asks: Old man, what could you possibly bring to the table for a hot tamale like me?
El Reberoo responds: My dear, it isn't to the table that I'll bring what I've got. Behave!

Deep Thought

You shouldn't sit that way, you know. Why, a girl who'll cross her legs like that will cross almost anything.


From Red Champagne, my new winter thriller set aboard the Twentieth Century limited in 1938. Publication date: early December.

From Red Champagne, my new winter thriller set aboard the Twentieth Century limited in 1938. Publication date: early December.

    For Jimmy, like the others, the car's aura was part of the magic. Two flat ceiling troughs stretched end to end, curving down behind the bar. The light they cast was shadowless, suffused and indirect. Small fixtures in their bases beamed subtle accents of lensed light that left the ceiling's coppered cork glowing in content. The oak-wainscoted walls were top-leathered in gray; the chairs and curved sofas, in Century blue. These formed a cozy and intimate maze, instead of the usual strips down both sides. Staggered hand-carved tables sank into the thick rust piling. The curved bar had brightly stocked shelves made from the new rage, Plexiglas. Just past it was a radio, big on Sinatra and Crosby tonight. Next, a one-man barber shop. Then a crew dormitory, which slept eighteen in three-high beds. Finally: a shower/bath and the car's circular foyer, with early railroad models in glass cases in the walls. No thoughts were squandered wondering if those early models had been trains of the future back in their own day.

The Brief Delay of Potty Man

Last month I announced the arrival of a new feature on this blog. I'd had an inspired idea based on the challenge of finding relief in a city with few Public Restrooms. In fact, it was a great idea--so great, I learned, that I'd been scooped by a major operation. Those wonderful rascals at Charmin have set up on their own nation-wide web site of public restrooms in Anytown, USA. I don't have Charmin's resources and won't even try to compete. That said, I can--and will--forge a way to present a supplement to Charmin's site. Mine will prove useful for three reasons:
1) The Charmin site, though exhaustively done, is difficult to navigate. Green and Red icons (for Recommended and Not Recommended) mushroomed alarmingly when I tried to scroll. They multiplied faster than the clones in the last Matrix. When we really, really have to 'go', we don't have time to fiddle.
2) My highly selective version will list top choices in the most popular parts of town. And in addition to public restrooms--often filled with riffraff--I'll list clean, safe, relatively private restrooms in cafes. Guiding principles: 1) It's best when we're traveling to structure our days, knowing roughly where we'll be at any given time. 2) We should be willing to buy at least a cup of coffee for use of the facilities. 
3) Potty Man lives in Seattle and cares. 

Till then, here's the link to Charmin's Sit or Squat site: