Old Town

Old Town
Pioneer Square

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Reb MacRath's Seattle Rock: V.5: 02/01/2015

Nuts and Bolts
The new year got off to a promising, if somewhat bumpy, start. I progressed but took my lumps:
--Missed two full weeks in the gym while I finished a writing assignment, my first piece of flash fiction. (See below: Litrachoor.)
--Put off updating my resume for an all-out new job search, despite two violent brawls, until the flash was finished.
--Rallied finally, updating the resume and preparing to search online and also pound the pavement.
--Bought new pants to prepare for personal visits.
--Had a first-class haircut and washed out the gray.
--Took still more serious safety measures after a second fight at work and an assault on an assistant manager,
--Began serious note-taking for my next Boss MacTavin novel.
--Increased my 'regularity' on the Southern Scotch blog: from 1 to 2 entries a week..

City Beats

Seattle is:

--Fitness-minded. Forget the drunks and druggies at 3rd and Pike or in Pioneer Square.
Check out the tribes of men and women charging up steep three-flight escalators...sprinting up inclines of 60 degrees despite their heavy backpacks...humbling the competition at Gold's Gym for an hour or two every day. There's no LA narcissism here. After the punishing workout at Gold's, a buff male or female will throw on a suit or  loose jacket. No need for tight muscle shirts--they know exactly what they've got and keep it under wraps.

--Age-liberated. In the gym, in the arts, in the workplace, older Seattleites still bring it home. And the city is committed to helping them stay in the game. The Mayor's office, for example, has a 55-plus Employment Resource Center:


I won't forget the woman who poured her heart out to me. Her husband had insisted she retire, though she was only eighty. "I'm too young to sit home!" she cried. And I agreed. The goal in Seattle's to rock till we drop.

And you can still write in Seattle if you're older than 39:

Jonathan Raban 07.jpgTerry Brooks.jpg
Jonathan Raban, 72                       Terry Brooks, 71

Greg Bear.jpg
Greg Bear, 63

--Not San Francisco. Yes, the two cities have important points in common: water, mountains, steep-pitched streets, a cafe on every block. But the differences between the two cities are pronounced. San Francisco takes your breath away with its eye-popping pastels and great vistas. San Francisco is a perfectly manicured, pedicured and waxed courtesan who can have any lover she wants with a wink--leaving them delighted to have had their pockets emptied.  Seattle can't compete with her, nor does she even want to. Seattle is the natural girl who shaves when and what she damned pleases. There's a half-careless throwaway style to the town that may not work for everyone but works wonders on free spirits. Nordstrom and Macy's rub elbows with the roughs at Third and Pike, just blocks from Pike Place Market and the Puget Sound. And fashion in Seattle's in in your face with its free spirit as well:

And, whoops, I almost forgot to add this:


You can always count on Reb MacRath to be honest with you in the Rock. And so it's true confession time...

The runner stumbled, as I wrote above. For two disgraceful weeks I worked on a writing assignment....and avoided Gold's completely. The really shocking thing, though, is how difficult it is--once a good habit's been broken--to get back in the groove. Yesterday, at last, I did.

Lesson learned:  from here on, whatever it takes, I must avoid the horror of...

Entertainment: Kick of the Month

I have a new TV delight. A not-quite-perfect, but nowhere near guilty pleasure. I viewed the first season of Homeland--and have committed to seeing it through the current season, critics be damned. Hell, the cast alone's worth watching: Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin and Damian Lewis? The Emmys were well-earned. I'm hooked and willing to put up with whatever bumps may lie ahead.


Just finished reading: Loving Imogen by Mari Biella. A stunning collection of stories, with a stand-out title piece that has haunted me for weeks.
    Also: Ratline by D J Bennett. One in a series of dark, gritty mysteries by a brilliant UK writer. If you like your mysteries strong, without any sweetener, add this writer to your list.

Now reading: Lost Years by Richard Monaco. This recent addition to his Parsival series is actually an 'interquel' that picks up immediately after the first novel's end. Monaco is one of my all-time greatest reading discoveries. And here's the link to my review of Parsival, with hopes you'll give his work a try.

In the works: Just finished revising and proofing my first piece of flash fiction for a June anthology to be put out by Authors Electric. The story weighed in at just under 1500 words.
    And I've ramped up my groundwork for the next Boss MacTavin mystery: outlining and note-taking. I expect to be ready to write on March 1 and will reserve space in the Writers' Room at the Central Library.

February's red-hot tips: 
1) Five-day free event: A reformatted and revised edition of The Vanishing Magic of Snow will be offered free from 02/02-02/06. Here's the link:

2) Amazon Countdown event: Red Champagne, my latest book, has won some terrific reviews and feedback has been glowing. To help the book reach more readers, the Countdown offers price saving incentives. on 02/02. the price will go down to $.99...rising to $1.99 on 02/5...and returning to its current price of $2.99 on 02/09. The link:



Sometimes homebodying requires outside help. Like most apartment buildings, mine has a bank of mailboxes in the inside lobby. And after-hours deliveries are sometimes left on the floor--where they don't always remain. After the theft of one shipment and the near-theft of  a second, I began to check my options. Since my deliveries come from Amazon, I went directly to the source. And I found the coolest solution, described in the following link:


Ripoffs and Savvy Savings

1) Razor blade extortion. Once upon a time, stores didn't have to keep men's razor blades in locked cases like jewels in a vault. Small wonder that they need to now, with 4-pack cartridges running up to $20. That's five bucks a cartridge, And greed's tactics grow still more ingenious--with Gillette's spins on its Fusion blades. We have Fusion, Fusion Power (same thing but battery boosted), Fusion ProGlide--manual and power...and now ProGlide with FlexBall! ( As described by Chris Gayomali: "a multi-bladed, swivel-headed, scruff-leveling Avenging Angel Of Follicles.Its defining feature is a round fulcrum, which allows the bladed cartridge to pivot in three dimensions.")

Sanity begins with saying goodbye to the madness.

2) A good clean shave for a lot less. I did some online homework, heeded some suggestions and ordered one alternative that didn't quite cut it with me: delivery issues and low blade longevity (six shaves). Undaunted, I did more research and think I have a winner: blade cartridges costing $1.22 each and lasting for up to a month. The company, Dorco, offers a wide range of styles. I opted for the three-blade style, which arrives tomorrow. My review next month.


Laptop Hoboing

Worst Starbucks, so far, in Seattle: Broadway and Pike, in Capitol Hill. Modeled, it's said, on a Western saloon, it's a total waste of time from a laptop hobo's point of view. A few long tables and bistro-style rounds, with a shortage of electrical outlets. Long lines. Okay service--as long as you don't ask for decaf, either brewed or pour-over. The basic vibe delivered is: get in and get out, dudes, as fast as you can. Rebel, hobos, and move on!


Wanted: A part-time position that doesn't come with full-time stress or weekly brawls at the entrance.

Ask El Reberoo

Dorita Q asks: What do I do when I feel so damned blue cuz a dude that I love can't get out of the red and a geezer I don't love has nothin' but bucks?

El Reberoo responds: Remember my grandma's advice, dear: "Marry for money, divorce for love--of a lot more money." Seriously, though: try adding some green to the blue and the red.

Deep Thought

These days, sad to say, a penny saved is one poor cent of a duller bill.