Friday, January 29, 2010

Jeff Takes a Holiday

And on the thirtieth day I rested. I've been involved for the past six work-weeks on a major project (more about that later), and I got it wrapped up yesterday, and declared that I was not showing up for work today (and to give you an idea of how intense it has been, the rest of my motley crew held back from the usual sarcastic remarks and wished me a nice day off).

So what do I do when I play hooky?

First thing? Sleep in. Until nine, and then only because our next door neighbor was chainsawing up wood (Thanks, Ron!). Then out to Third Place Books up in Lake Forest.

Now, TPB is a weird location for a good bookstore, part of an architecturally nice strip mall with an Albertsons, near a lake but not near much of anything else but residential. The store itself adjoins a large commons room that is used for chess, D&D, Mah Jong and general hanging out and food court. The offerings are good (Purchases: The Story of Sushi by Trevor Corson, Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi, and The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russel). Staff is knowledgeable and polite, but I showed up for the espresso machine.

Now this Rube Goldberg device in the back of the commons is a Print on Demand operation - Order the book at the info desk, they print it up for you. Their goal is to get turnaround time in about an hour, but that's a goal, not a current result. I tested it out by ordering The Charles Fort Reader, and D'Orcy's Airship Manual. Despite opting out of the Google Books Settlement, I'm OK with seeing books from the 20's still getting the light of day.

Ordered, was told it would take a while, so I drove down to Pike Place to pick up two pounds of tea (Earl Grey, loose). And some mozzarella balls. And some rosemary garlic bread. And some olive bread. And some brats from Usingers. And had some lunch - gyros, clam chowder, crab rangoon, and some fresh donuts.

Oh, and did I mention there was a band on one of the rooftops? It is the 41st anniversary of the last Beatles appearance, so Beatles tribute/cover band Creme Tangerine played Fab Four hits from one of the balconies overlooking Pike Place. The only American on the rooftop that day, Ken Mansfield, was present and spoke about Apple Records. It was to raise funds for luekemia research. And a lot of old folk danced in the streets. Also picked up a book on the Permian extinction from Lamp Lighter Books.

Walked to the Seattle Library (yes, walked), and saw what they had that could help me my current hobby-project - researching newspapers of the mid-20s in New England. Looking for resources that can show me full pages as opposed to just articles. Staff was helpful but kept thinking I was after genealogy info.

Walked (yes walked) down to Elliot Bay Books to see it before everything shut down. It was there, with books and all, but it already feels like the guy who's handed in his resignation but is still showing up for work until the end of the week. It will be missed.

Walked back up along the sound itself (Yeah, a seawall repair would be "a good thing"), recovered my car and drove back up to Lake Forest (Via The Dreaming in the U-district, just to see if they had anything new in Cthulhu - they didn't), and got to Third Place with about five minutes to go before the books were ready. The books were - well, books. The paper stock is good, more photocopy paper than book paper, and the covers do not have the gloss finish you would see on other books. The Charles Fort Reader is massive (four original books gathered together), but the binding looks solid. The airship book (from the Library of Congress) has a generic cover stating the title and where it was printed. Sort of a restored ghost of a book, but it is pretty cool.

About five hours from start to finish - not instant gratification by any means but a good thing. I could see using this to get out-of-print nonfiction from the depths of time.

And that was my day. How was yours?

More later,