Foer, reading excerpts from Extremely Loud and answering the inevitably trite audience questions was a little taken aback both by the number of people who showed (a mix of artistic - i.e. lots of theatre folk, literary and hip scenesters -- the event was sponsored by our local alterna-alterna weekly, The Stranger), as well as the rather unorthodox setting (Chop Suey being primarily a dance club), but seemed to take it all in-stride.
Naturally, I picked up a copy of the book -- it seems like an appropriate choice for my upcoming trip to NYC.
As an added bonus, my good friends from "Awesome" were commissioned to create and perform original music based on the Foer's novel, especially for the event.
So, a good evening was had by all, although I probably should have foregone the two slices of cheese pizza I gulped down on the walk home; two consecutive nights dealing with bouts of insomnia have put me a bit off work-wise today.
In a little bit of goodly newsiness, I was recently offered a gig doing publicity for a local small performing arts venue, working on their upcoming theatrical production. It's only a teensy bit o' moola, and essentially something I can do outside of work hours, but there's a possibility, assuming I do well, that they may hire me for additional future projects.
Whilst walking homeward bound from my first meeting with the Marketing Director yesterday afternoon, I casually stuck my head into a little storefront that had caught my eye a couple of days before, a place calling itself "RetroFit" just a block or so down form the aforementioned LSPAV -- big place, hard to see inside, but from somewhere in the back a familiar voice shouts out my name. I can't tell who it is, but as the figure draws closer, I see it's my friend Jon (pronounced sort of half-way between "John" and "Joan"), a fellow theatre person of long acquaintance. Turns out she and her partner are starting up a little "retro modern home furnishings store", all decked out with the kind of '60's "space age modern" type decor that makes my mouth water; the sort of stuff you'll find at Design Within Reach, but, I am assured, for people on an Urban Outfitters budget.
Now, all I have to do is figure out where I'm going to find room for those candy-apple red Panton chair repros...
Groucho - We have to talk about taxes Chico - Texas, I gotta brodda dere Groucho - No, taxes, money, Dollars! Chico - Thass-a-where my brodda lives: Dallas, Texas
As of 8:17 this evening I finished my last tax return of the season. Mr. & Mrs. Clayton and their impending "bundle O' joy" (AKA in tax parlayance: "the minor dependent child") are now $1,800 richer; just in time to pay the doctor, midwife, and the doula? (whomever that is, I haven't really kept up-to-date with modern birthing techniques [On Ed. Ah. Not so modern after all]). I turned out the lights, closed and locked the door and left the building, as they say.
The Box Score:
VITA Site #S64010004
- 48 people seen - 41 returns completed - Average Refund = $ 426 per person - Biggest Refund = $3,268 - Largest Amt Owed = $1,935 - % Union Members = 41% - % TPS Members = 35% - Ttl. Volunteer Hrs = 85
Yay, Joan & Kris, who made my life bearable by helping out, and to the people who brought cookies & donuts & chocolate (I'm still waiting for the Scotch...), and to the modern miracle of computer software!
Google Maps has added a fun little feature to their address mapping site -- click "Satellite" on the far right side of the peach colored task bar, and you can get a bird's eye photographic view of just about anywhere on the planet, including your own home!
Always wanted to take a ride down the Amazon River, or follow the length of the Great Wall of China? Don't have the wherewithall to climb Mount Everest or Ayers Rock? Want to see what's inside Area 51? Well, now you can from the comfort of your own computer.
This must be how the geeks at Langley used to goof off during coffee breaks...
Most people who know me well would probably say I'm usually a pretty level-headed guy; not prone to overt displays of emotion, and certainly not the sort of person you'd expect to be confrontational in uncomfortable situations.
Today was different.
I'm riding the #2 route to downtown, headed for work a few minutes after 8:00 a.m. this morning. The bus starts to pull out from a stop, and as it begins to accelerate, there's a loud "bang!" right behind where I'm sitting. I turn to look out the window, and I can see this guy running along side, furiously slapping the side of the bus as it moves down the street. After about four slaps, he's left behind, but I can just barely make him out in my peripheral vision running down the sidewalk in pursuit.
At the next stop, the guy, huffing & puffing hops in through the back door (we're not in the Ride-Free Zone yet), THEN starts in with a burst of invective at the bus driver for not stopping to pick him up, concluding his tirade with a racial epithet that I won't dignify by repeating here.
And that's when I went off on the guy.
"Do NOT insult the driver!" I said, loud enough to make sure he (and those immediately surrounding us) heard me.
"He didn't wait for me! He heard me banging on the bus!"
"You didn't start banging until after we were already moving. I was sitting right here and saw you. Don't blame the driver if you can't get to the stop in time."
Naturally, he started in with the usual "It's a free country, I can say what I want" schpeil, to which I replied, "Then I can say whatever I want about you, right?" That sort of caught him off guard for a second or two before he resorted to the inevitable Plan B, "Oh yeah, you wanna get off at the next stop and make something of it?"
"No, because obviously you're not worth making anything over."
Several more words were exchanged; his intended to provoke and mine intended to tell him in no uncertain terms that I for one wasn't going to tolerate his rudeness and bigotry. At the end of it we locked eyes: the stare-fight showdown to see who was going to flinch first. I did, but only holding his gaze long enough to make the silent point that I wasn't in the least afraid of him, but didn't think he was worth any more of my time or energy.
This all happened in less than a minute of real time, after which he got off at the very next stop, having traveled exactly three blocks.
By then, I was barely able to contain the adrenalin induced twitching -- that stuff can be pretty strong when neither flight nor fight are realistic options. I remember thinking at one point during our roughly 30 second exchange that, "Well, he could be carrying a knife or gun or who-knows-what, and I'm probably not putting myself in the best position by turning my back on him." But, frankly I was furious. I ride this bus every day -- and almost always it's the same driver, who goes out of his way to let kids cross the street on their way to school, who personally helps little old ladies (and occasionally little old men) onto the bus when they're either too proud or just barely able to climb the steps on their own without using the wheelchair lift, who smiles, and says "good morning", and announces all the stops, and basically seems like a really nice guy and a good driver to boot. He didn't deserve this jerk's insults, and for some reason it was important to me at the time to Let. The. Jerk. Know.
After he got off, and we'd started up again, the woman across the aisle made eye contact, "Thank you." she whispered, the words barely audible, but enunciating so that I could tell what she was saying just by how her lips moved. That helped a bit, although I certainly wasn't doing it for anyone else's benefit, or at least I don't think consciously I was.
My stop. I get off the bus in the heart of downtown, and take up a brisk pace to try to burn off some of the extra energy. About a half block up, coming my way is -- guess who? I don't think he saw me, or if he did he didn't give any overt indication. I crossed the street; he crossed on the other side. I continued walking down Pike toward the Market. Taking a quick glance over my shoulder I saw him following, but not too close, and again not staring in my direction. By the time I got down to First, he was gone, having either turned into the alley or into one of the little ramshackle storefronts that line the street. In any case, he wasn't following me (if he ever was in the first place), and I felt some of my tension dissipate: at least I wasn't going to get into a fight first thing on a Monday morning.