Old Town

Old Town
Pioneer Square

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Reb MacRath's Seattle Rock: V. 12: 09/01/15

Nuts and Bolts

It's time, at last. You know it. But are you prepared for September and the frightening chance for rebirth?

The year's fourth quarter now begins. I began with a series of steps: some small, some not--all decisive. I began, Seattle-style: with a fine-tuned blend of passion, strategy and faith. The fourth quarter is the time for bigger and bolder decisions. And so...
--I dealt a major blow to one personal flaw that disgusts me: a tendency to surrender when dreams begin drifting away. Now, it's good to be a dreamer--but not a wan and listless one, the kind that used to populate bad 19th Century romances. The slipping dream that most tormented me was my plan to re--begin traveling by train as often as I can. Though I moved cross-country last autumn by train, I'd traveled in coach and had been anxiety-ridden. The last time I'd traveled properly--and I mean first class--on a train? Almost thirty years ago. Soooo...last month, like Caesar, I did it: made reservations for a first-class, cross-country trip next year. Destination: Buffalo. My first visit there since...I cannot recall. Next: I'm looking into a visit to L.A. Another dream I've drifted from: a reunion with an old school friend. Reb MacRath, train travelin' man.

Image result for train travel images

--I manned up and admitted that my vaunted, self-made daily planner wasn't working for me: too bulky and too high-maintenance: the blank journal required designing the pages for each new week. Since I hate admitting that I'm wrong, I admitted I was wrong. Proof: I hardly looked at it. I need something I can carry and look at through the day. And so this sometimes penny-pinching honorary Scot paid the bucks required for the planner he'd come to love best:

--I decided to stop stalling and begin exploring other employment opportunities. Goal: to reach the salary I'd had in mind when I moved here (at least $15 an hour), plus holidays and Sundays free--in a less stressful, non-call center setting. Secondary goal: to work fewer hours a week. Through a coworker on the present job I learned that the Mayor's office has a program devoted to finding work for Slightly Older Guys and Gals. Am filling out the forms required prior to my meeting them.
Seeking a far better balance between:

City Beats

Seattle is:

--Walgreens. The legendary 3rd and Pike location.

The country's grungiest Walgreens has had a major face lift this year. Two floors now instead of one, with an escalator and an elevator. Hardwood floors instead of filthy, cracked linoleum. And a layout less conducive to smash-and-grab gangs of thieves. The corner itself is undergoing major reconstruction: sidewalks closed, bus stops moved further south, alleys closed or monitored, newspaper boxes (drug drop-offs) removed, etc. But is the city's favorite steal-from store really now predator-free? Not likely, since the staff are forbidden to stop known thieves or even demand return of clearly boosted merchandise. Anyone who's worked there will tell you their own stories: violent brawls at the entrance, a female security guard who was shoved and then fired for daring to hit back, an assistant manager punched in the face, cashiers receiving death threats, huge men snatching shopping bags and loading them up with high-end merch, then threatening to kill anyone who stood in their way...Good luck to Walgreens in its effort to transform this location from a dangerous hole in the wall to a toney site with sushi bar. It may prevail. But thieves who've been looting the store for years won't give up easily, though they may have to wait a while. The safe money's on betting that the tough cops now manning the entrance won't be there forever or even day and night. Not unless the face lift is something more than a face lift: say, a step up from exclusive thoughts about the bottom line.

If you think I'm joking about the massive 'shrinkage' at the store, check out the following link to theft deterrent procedures at a branch store in San Francisco's Haight. At Third and Pike, thieves wouldn't care--they'd smash the cases, load up and run.


--Barnes & Noble, 600 Pine Street, has earned its place a second time in the Seattle Hall of Shame.

Their official listing is as impressive as its location, near the ritzy Pike Place pavilion: The world’s largest bookseller offers a vast selection of titles, with more than 10,000 publishers. Shop here for an variety of books, NOOK and the new NOOKcolor, NOOKbooks™, eclectic accessories and gifts to enhance any book lover’s collection and reflect on their personal style. Barnes & Noble is a great place to relax and read, with a comfortable cafe, unique children’s section, and calendars of events featuring author appearances and discussion groups.  We have free Wi-Fi, allowing customers to surf the web. 

BUT...Huge BUT: As mentioned in a previous edition, their really huge cafe has just two pairs of outlets--on a single post. Others who need to plug in for Wi-Fi are just plumb out of luck. AND: The bastards have walled off their washrooms. That's right: not restricted their use to paying customers or required tokens for their usage--no, they have completely walled them off, as in a tale by Poe. So shop and spend hundreds...savor the cafe's delicacies...and enjoy the Wi-Fi if your battery still has some juice. But if you or your kids need to pee? Hit the road.

--Then again, there is a choice.

ELLIOTT BAY BOOK COMPANY That guy was browsing and taking photos, calling it the most beautiful bookstore Ive ever seen.

The world-famous Elliott Bay Book Company, in Capitol Hill, has a superior assortment of books, staff who really love their jobs, a terrific cafe--and bathrooms. Keys for these are obtained at the cafe register.

SOS's of the Soul

September is the time to listen to SOS's of the Soul. Spring and summer have left us again, as they do every year, bringing us annually closer to the winter of our lives. This year we have the short stretch of this fall to get it right while there's still time.

My own SOS's are legion: terrifying thoughts of losses that might become fatal if I quit on my dreams or give less than my best...or simply drift too far from goals. Financial SOS's. Creative SOS's. Social SOS's.

For me, in the fall of 2015, the greatest SOS is this: the fear that, unless I am careful right now, the sense of romance will be squeezed from my soul by new practical concerns. And so I focus with all of my might on images like these that help me stay on track:

Image result for train romantic imagesImage result for train romantic images

Image result for train romantic imagesImage result for train romantic images

Image result for train romantic images

Entertainment Kick of the Month
Eureka! New DVD tactic. To keep up with the movies I've already bought, I'd have to watch one a night for a while. But I don't have the time to watch more for than an hour a night, sometimes less, whereas some of the films run to three hours--and contain hours of extras. Sad to say, but some evenings I can only afford half an hour.

Weekly combination strategy:
1) Watch two 2-hour film per week, each film broken down into two viewings.
2) Select two fave TV shows. Night 5: one episode from #1. Night 6: #2. Running time per episode should be about 45 minutes.
3) On my Tired Night, one episode of a classic half-hour show.

Starting September lineup:

Week one's movie:

The Big Red One - The Reconstruction (Two-Disc Special Edition)

TV shows: one episode of each per week:

Prison Break season 1 dvd.jpg  

Am nearly through each of these. So will need replacements in October.

Tired Night's half-hour classic:

I own several seasons. And they'll last me a long time at one show a week!

Finished reading: Darkness by Bill Kirton. Very aptly named. A riveting, gut-wrenching mystery that's left me in need of a break. No more reading till October.
In the works: Caesar's Ghost, the novel that came to me on my March visit to San Francisco. I've just begun the third draft of this real genre blender. Or let's call it a Mhistory that's also a tale of possession. And then repossession. Oh hell, enough of that, Let's just call it Caesar's Ghost

Deep Thoughts
--I like even a bad book that is what it is. But when a bad book seems not what it isn't--watch out.
--Abstinence makes the fond grow harder.
--Poverty ennobles the spirit, they say...between sales of Florida swamp land.


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