Thursday, September 28, 2006

Public Transportation

I've always been a little intimidated by public transportation. I'm bad with directions, bad with maps and the idea of trying to figure out exactly which times and transfers I need to get from point A to point B seems overwhelming.
I know that it's not that mystifying. I just need to do it a few times and I'm sure it'd become more logical.
I know how to get from my house to downtown on the bus system, but that's about it.

Whenever I travel to a larger city though, I'm always impressed with how easy it is to get around without a car. I particularly love rapid transit and trains and I really wish that Knoxville had such a set-up.
Knoxville seems like it would be perfectly suited for a rapid transit system. Even just one main line running east to west would make living here so much easier.
I grew up in West Knoxville and my parents and sister still live west, but I absolutely dread any trip I have to make out there. It's only a 15-20 drive, but the construction, traffic and congestion make me incredibly tense.

There are a lot of places in West Knoxville that I'd like to visit more often, but instead I generally only visit their counterparts here in East and North Knoxville.
There's nothing wrong with that persay, but I don't like the idea of this city becoming so compartmentalized along compass points. I don't think I'm alone in behaving this way. There are lots of West Knoxvillians who love our bookstore, but only visit every few months because they find travelling across town a chore. Throw in football traffic and impending bridge closings, and we might as well be in Virginia.

For now however, instead of complaining about what Knoxville doesn't have, I need to start using more of what it does have. I'm going to try to pick a few places I visit routinely and designate them as bus trips and see where that leads me.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Love Hurts

There are other ways, people.

This is the ring for people who would give someone the Big Mouth Billy Bass as a gift.

You know dude's gonna be in a great mood when it comes time to go out to dinner.

"Honey, you look amazi..OW!"
"Will you pass me that...OW! FUCK!"
"Hard to believe that it's been....SHIT!"

You know what would be funny though? If someone stole this ring, not knowing what it was, and happened to wear it on the anniversary date.
I know I'd probably be reformed pretty fast if the stuff I stole started cooking my flesh.

Don't Fergit, Babe

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Booker Books Part One (In Which I Allude to My Ignorance)

Even though I'm in the book business, I rarely keep up with the assorted national prize winners of various literary competitions. I try to go over the Newbery and Caldecott lists, so that I can make sure to keep some copies in stock, but that's about it.

Being ignorant about "important" books isn't an attractive characteristic in a book clerk, so this year I'm doing a little something about it.
I ordered one each of the Booker Prize finalists (their novels rather), and am going to try to read them all by the October 10th announcement date.

The Booker Prize, as I took the time to learn this year is (from their website):

"The Man Booker Prize for Fiction represents the very best in contemporary fiction. One of the world’s most prestigious awards, and one of incomparable influence, it continues to be the pinnacle of ambition for every fiction writer. It has the power to transform the fortunes of authors, and even publishers. In 2004, not only did Alan Hollinghurst’s The Line of Beauty reach the bestseller lists, but previous winners Life of Pi (2002) and Vernon God Little (2003) were also amongst the bestselling books of the year.

Now in its thirty-eighth year, the prize aims to reward the best novel of the year written by a citizen of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland. The Man Booker judges are selected from the country’s finest critics, writers and academics to maintain the consistent excellence of the prize. The winner of the Man Booker Prize receives £50,000 and both the winner and the shortlisted authors are guaranteed a worldwide readership plus a dramatic increase in book sales."

I made it a point not to read any synopses of any of the books ahead of time, so as not to prejudice myself against something I think I might not like.

I got the first one in the mail yesterday: "Carry Me Down" by M.J. Hyland. I read the flyleaf and the story sounds intriquing. A boy makes a decision early in his life to become the world's most talented lie detector.

I try to be asleep each work night by midnight, but this book kept me awake until one. I'm only on page 37, and not much has happened yet, but something about the writing is completely compelling. I actually had dreams throughout the night that it was the best book ever written. (I also dreamed that my friend's dog was housed in a papier mache oracle that looked like a dragon). I woke up thinking wtf?
Of course it's not the best book ever. But it's pretty darned excellent.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Chit Chat

I'm considering posting a want ad on Craigslist for a deaf-mute hairdresser.

I require only two things from a person who cuts my hair: that they be skilled at cutting hair and that they don't stink.

They don't need to know the following...
(and they especially don't deserve to know the following if they're addressing me as if it's my first day of kindergarten):

Why I spell my name the way I do
What I'm doing after I get my hair cut
Where I went to school
Where I grew up
If I want to have children
My opinion of the weather
Where I went on vacation
Where I work
If I like my job
If I'm married
Where I got my purse
If it's my day off

I'm not being mean, really. It's just that I can't stand the kind of talk generated from obligation. She doesn't care what the answers are to any of those questions beyond whether they'll lead to more conversation.
And I'm not kidding about the kindergarten thing. Her over-dramatic exclamations of astonishment and fascination with each of my one word answers made my ears and brain hurt.