jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Whee! Nothing like kicking up years of dust and bits and detritus in a fit of housecleaning. In this case, the desk and the bookshelf here in Spare Oom. Dead pens, expired coupons and membership cards, old batteries, scraps of paper, a million tiny rubber bands and paper clips, paperwork that can be filed away. And adding to that, rearranging one of the shelves so there's less wasted room, and a place where I can put my art supplies with the brand spankin' new art supply box I bought today! So much more organized now. (There's still a small pile of et cetera stuff across the room in a forgotten corner that I need to get rid of, but that can wait.)

This weekend was basically spent being kind of lazy and not getting much work done, but that's okay...I so rarely let myself have a full lazy weekend anymore! Yesterday was a trip over to Amoeba Records in the Haight. I was a little let down that everything I was looking for was out of stock -- which always seems to happen when I go there, even though I'm not looking for anything incredibly obscure -- but I did find some neat dvds instead, which is all fine by me. And today was a trip up the hill to the Legion of Honor to see the 'Monet: the Early Years' exhibit (side note: is it elitist of us to say we remembered seeing some of the paintings previously the last time we went to the D'Orsay in Paris? :p ), and then a quick trip down to Fort Mason in the Marina to pick up that art supply box, where we happened upon a farmer's market! And lastly our weekly trip to groceries at the Trader Joe's. But yeah -- I don't think I did a lick of writing work this weekend up until just now, writing this.

Oop -- that's right, I need to write tomorrow's Welcome to Bridgetown post as well! And then maybe I'll sneak in a bit of Lidwells work before the evening's out. Other than that, it's been a nice relaxing weekend, so I can't complain!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Sunday morning and it's raining outside, which is kind of amusing in its own way, considering that our vacation to New Jersey and Massachusetts last week was hit with its own precipitation (including just a tiny bit of snow, but it didn't accumulate). Not that I mind the weather, just that high humidity usually causes my head to pound just that little bit.

Still, it was an enjoyable vacation back to the old stomping grounds. I hadn't been back to NJ since we moved out back in '05, but for the most part it's remained the same and I found my way around relatively easily (with the occasional help of A playing the role of Siri when it was needed). The drive up to MA was nice as usual, as the Merritt was lovely as always, especially since it was autumn. Many visits to friends and family and the occasional shopping spree. I even got to walk around Solomon Pond Mall for a little bit, which I hadn't been to in about ten years. The flights to and from weren't bad either, just the occasional turbulence. Managed to have an empty seat on the way home so I scooted over so I could stretch out and take a cat nap!

But yes, it's Sunday morning and now we must go and shop for groceries so we can fill our very empty cupboards. I also have a ton of emails (both personal and Day Job related) to sort through, as well as a few loads of laundry, so that should keep me busy for the rest of the day. Then it's back to the grind once more.

Hope everyone had a good weekend!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
It's one of our rare weekends when we don't have that much planned! No symphony performances (we do have one next Friday, though), no family visits, no other events. We don't really know what to do with ourselves now! :p

I do have a bit of shopping to do...I need to hit either Target or Office Depot and buy some printer paper and a three-ring binder (and possibly a few spiral notebooks), and I have a book waiting for me at Green Apple. Other than that...we got nothin'.

As you may have read at one of my other blogs, the stationery run has to do with preparing myself for the final (no really I mean it this time) edit of The Balance of Light. It's going to need a lot of work. A LOT of work. So much so that I'm printing it out so I can have a tangible version to work with. The autumn deadline is going to fly by, but I've made my peace with that. I'm thinking more like early next year instead.

On the plus side, I now have a concrete plan on the next project I'll be working on once the BTown Trilogy is done! Woo!

So yeah. Not much else going on. Hope everyone has a nice relaxing weekend!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Hoo! After two-plus weeks of being too lazy to do the grocery shopping, our refrigerator was dangerously on the verge of becoming a bro fridge (a bunch of condiments, about 1/8 cup of milk, a few vegetables that may be past their date, and a few beers, natch), so today was Shop for All the Things Day. Took a different way down to the mall in San Bruno by way of all back roads (we usually jump on 280 or cut through Daly City and Colma), and not so surprisingly, it took a lot less time to get there and back. And less traffic, too!

Anyhoo, our refrigerator looks a lot less embarrassing now. A is currently doing some canning now, while I start the afternoon housecleaning. That's the funny thing...I don't exactly procrastinate when it comes to housecleaning, as we generally pick up after ourselves when we're done with things. But weekend cleaning is usually an all-afternoon thing for me. I'll start with, say, the bathroom floors for starters, realize the shower needs scrubbing so I do that next, and then come to the conclusion that I'll need to vacuum at some point as well. Oh, and mop the kitchen floor, once A is finished with her project. There's also the temptation to start the laundry if no one else is using it, just to get it over and done with. [Note: Sundays are not a good laundry day, because that's when everyone else in the building thinks it's a good day to do it.]

Meanwhile, what else is going on?

The Grand Edit of The Persistence of Memories continues apace. As usual, my first couple of chapters are usually the ones that need the most fixing, but thankfully this one didn't need as much overhaul as ADoS did. Just a lot of scene rewriting and major deletion of extraneous crap. I've just started a new chapter and already I've deleted over 2000 words, so that's a good sign that I know exactly what needs to be done to make it even better.

Basically, I overwrite. A LOT. My verbose blog posts here and elsewhere are a good example. But to be honest, to me this is a good thing, because it means my major writing style overhaul in 1999 has worked out for the best. Before that, my writing was sparse and I left out a lot of detail...so much so that my prose read more like an outline than a novel. My longhand is still a bit like that, but that's okay, because longhand is supposed to be the VERY rough first draft. Point being -- when it comes to the revision, I get to do a lot of deletion, and the rewriting tends to be a lot of "how can I say this in fewer words?", which works out a lot better for me in the long run.

On a related note, I now have five galley copies of ADoS, one I've already claimed as the Red Pen Edition. This will be the one where I make all kinds of petty notes about layout, typos, and other embarrassing things. Once I get through that, then this book will FINALLY be available in physical form on Amazon! Yay!

On that note, back to the scrubbing and cleaning. And coffee drinking. Have a spiffy weekend!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
It's been a busy three days of 2015 so far, in a very good way. Keeping up with the daily words, prepared work for the Blogging the Beatles ebook project, posted at my WordPress blogs like a madman, and I even managed to get some guitar practice in there. Not a bad start, all told.

I already have my "this is due" whiteboard list--for instance, I have a Welcome to Bridgetown post due today--so I already have it hanging over my head. My instinctual response is "but I don't wanna". The trick for me for overcoming that? Doing it anyway, even if it's purely out of being a stubborn contrarian. Because I know for a fact that if I don't work on it and spend my evening goofing off on YouTube or something, I'll climb into bed feeling guilty and annoyed with myself for wasting time. In short: 'just STFU and do it already' seems to be my way of working on projects. Mind you, it's not the only way I'm getting myself to get things done, but I know enough to utilize it when necessary.

Been a relaxing and lazy weekend here...we did a bit of shopping yesterday, including heading over to the Haight to spend mumbletymumble dollars at Amoeba. Amanda found many sweet deals in the dvd section, and I made a significant dent in the dollar bins looking for (and finding!) exactly what I was looking for! Yay! Oh--and in the dvd section I found a used copy of the Space Above and Beyond box set--I've been meaning to pick that up for ages, so I'm quite happy that I finally own it! It's been ages since I've watched it, so I'll need to set aside time to rewatch.

Not too much on tap for today, other than my daily words, a WtBT post, and football games. Sushi down the street may be involved at some point, we'll see. Going to take it easy and enjoy the weekend while it's still here!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Another calm and relaxing weekend here in San Francisco. On Friday evening we went to see the current Naruto Movie (Road to Ninja) at the 4 Star around the corner. It wasn't that big a crowd, I think mainly because it's been out for some time and the new movie (The Last) won't be out for some time. Anyhoo--both silly and fascinating on many levels, lots of fun. Yesterday was a trip down to the Mission District for shopping, walking and ice cream--A needed some specific yarn over at ImagiKnit, and of course we couldn't walk by Dolores Park without stopping at BiRite Ice Cream for some tasty goodness. Books were purchased at Borderlands (we did not stay for John Scalzi's reading/signing), and ingredients were bought on the way home for A's canning project she's starting today. And today, A's birthday (yay!), we'll be heading down to the end of Clement Street for brunch at Troya and more food purchasing at the farmer's market. And there may be a stop at Green Apple for more book searching. The rest of the day is relaxing and football! :)

On the writing end, things are going quite well. I finished up the first chapter of Two Thousand on Friday; it definitely needs fixing, but it's a start. It still feels a little directionless, but I have a few ideas as to how to fix that. We'll see what happens. I've been relatively good with the daily 750 Words too, though I forgot to hit them yesterday (Brain: All is ruined! You failed your goal! You may as well give up now! Me: Shut up, you.)...no worries on that though. I'm getting things done, and that's the main aim anyway.

Other than that...not much else planned for this weekend other than having fun and getting things done! :)
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Re: the subject heading--last week when we stopped at Amoeba I finally got around to picking up Bob Mould's Workbook 25, the 25th Anniversary of his excellent 1989 album, and after much distraction and other things going on, I finally got around to ripping it to the drive and giving it a listen. MAN, this album still kicks ass after a quarter century. It's a gorgeous album, full of lovely acoustics and incredibly strong songwriting from a guy formerly known only a few years previous as one third of Hüsker Dü, the guy who tore into his heavily distorted Flying V and howl-screamed most of his lyrics. Well worth picking up and giving a listen.

So! What has been going on in JoncWorld? All sorts of fun things.

--Taxes. Finally did them the other day, and though we still owe for both the State and Federal (I know it's my job's fault--I may need to adjust how much is taken out), it's a little less than last year. And it dawned on me that, if I finally follow through with getting published, I'm going to need to start itemizing next year. Whee! That'll be fun. But yes...that bit of silliness is over and done with for another year.

--Work. Work is...work. It's not frustrating, but I did have a bit of ridiculousness to contend with. Long story short, if you have any nonspecific questions on how OFAC Sanctions work, I'm your man. Let's just say I had to school a few people on it last week. Much fun.

--Walking, Shopping, Eating. Another fun-filled weekend here in sunny SF, in which our intrepid heroes headed over the Castro and the Mission yesterday. After a very tasty brunch in the Castro (in which a hilarious couple asked us about whether their facial hair made them look Amish) (yeah, I don't know either, but it was damn funny), we walked down 18th Street, stopped briefly at ImagiKnit (one of A's favorite yarn stores) and then for some AWESOMELY TASTY ice cream at Bi-Rite. From there it was over to Valencia, where we stopped at this really fun gift shop that sells all sorts of silly cards, and then across the street to Borderlands Books, where we spent mumblemumble on books. And then today we headed over to Fillmore so A could get a haircut, and for me to spend some time at Browser Books, where we eventually spent mumblemumble on more books. Then it was down to Japantown for some okonomi-yaki! It was probably for the best that I didn't buy any manga at Kinokuniya, then...

--Reading. I finally finished Chang Rae-Lee's On Such a Full Sea and I have to say I was pleasantly entertained, especially given that it's been described as a post-apocalyptic novel. See, this book proves that not every post- climate failure/society failure/pandemic novel needs to be full of zombies, or a horror novel, or a suicide-inducing downer (Cormac McCarthy I'm looking at you). It was not only fascinating, it was quite true to life, extremely heartfelt, and *gasp* didn't exactly have a complete resolution! All in all, one of my favorite books I've read in a long time. Well worth it. And now, I'm reading Carter Alan's Radio Free Boston: The Rise and Fall of WBCN, which I'm finding equally as fascinating--let's face it, I love pretty much any book that tells the history of rock radio, but this one is great because I'm very familiar with not just the station, but many of the deejays involved.

--Writing. Yes, still plugging away at the revision of The Process of Belief. I'm on Chapter 8, and I seem to have gotten past some of the more tetchy "stage directions" parts into some tighter prose, so there's that. As I told A., I figured when I wrote that I was focusing more on the word count than the prose itself, and paid a little too much attention to the visual cues and not much else. Around 2002-4, that tended to happen whenever I was in the zone. In other writing news, I decided to put the 750 Words aside for now, as I want to try something slightly different. More on that later.

--Making plans for our vacation. We'll be in the Massachusetts area in a few weeks and so will hopefully be meeting up with friends and family at that time. Should be fun!


So yes...been a busy but productive week here! Hope everyone had a lovely weekend!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Okay, maybe a couple. Yesterday was our foray over to the Haight to do a bit of walking around and shopping. It's kind of an interesting neighborhood to be in somewhat early in the morning, considering most of its stores don't open until around 10 or 11am. We took a walk around some of the streets with the main aim of heading over to Crepes on Cole for breakfast, where they make some great scrambles. After that we walked a bit on Cole, took a few pictures of the Victorians, and headed back to Haight to browse the stores. We stopped at the Haight Ashbury Music Center for a short bit, where I ogled at their collection of guitars and mandolins (and was serenaded by the store's awesome speaker system, which was inexplicably playing The Bee Gees' Main Course album!). After a stop at Booksmith (surprise surprise), we headed over to Amoeba, where I surprised myself by buying only two cds...we did, however, end up buying a number of dvds, including a fascinating 16-disc set of all the Emma Peel episodes of The Avengers. Can't go wrong with that!

So what's for today? It may sound boring, but we're heading up to the other end of Clement for the farmer's market. It's a relatively recent thing in this neighborhood, having started up in the middle of last year, but it's gone over so well (and most of the stuff ends up selling out by afternoon) that they've extended it for another year and may even extend it another block. We've bought some great produce there the last few times, so it's well worth it. Other plans today? Not much...just a few boxes of books to donate to the Fort Mason library store, and perhaps finally getting the car washed. Yay mundane weekend plans! :p


The writing side of things has been slow but productive...I'm about halfway through a longish chapter of The Process of Belief, and it dawns on me that this chapter here is right about where the title starts making sense. It still feels a bit awkward as a title and might be changed, but that's still up in the air. And as for other things, I'm happy that I was finally able to write that Fuzzbox post over at Walk in Silence. Added to that, I came to the realization that I definitely need to assign myself a schedule for the posts for WiS as well as Welcome to Bridgetown. I'm thinking that the Bridgetown posts could be written on the weekend, as those usually take much longer to write. And as for the music posts, it occurred to me that I should probably turn that into my own version of the Throwback Thursday meme that goes around on Twitter...perhaps working on a music post throughout the week would work, posting it on Thursdays.

In other writing news, the 750 Words fell by the wayside again due to another crazy week at work, as well as wanting to use more time with the TPoB revision, but I'm sure I can pick it up again when need be. I'm not too worried about it. I did manage to finally get some of my previous plans in motion, however--I now have a clipboard at eye-level with my desk that has a list of upcoming blog posts to work on, and I finally found something at the kitchenware store up the street that I can use for my "idea jar", which is also on my desk. The idea jar is something I've been wanting to do for some time, using it sort of like a primer for any writing exercises or projects I want to partake in (including the 750 Words). I tried this once before to some success, and I'd like to try it again.


So yeah, another fun-packed weekend here at the home...!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Eesh, what a week.

First Spare Oom PC begins its death throes. Then my coworkers' PCs are refusing to connect to the phone bank. Then a few work servers start going all wonky and we're disconnected from our Communicators for half a day.

And for a Friday? First my work laptop decides to lose its VPN connection and I waste a good forty-five minutes disconnecting and reconnecting everything so I can get back online.

And to top it all off? I suddenly realize that the desktop PC I ordered through Best Buy and picked up at the local store? The wrong model. I ordered a Gateway DX4870-UB318 (with 8GB processing memory among other things), and was given a DX4870-UB17 (with 6GB processing memory and without other things the UB318 has, and a difference of $100 in price). So now I have to waste another day I could be going to the gym (and writing in the evening) replacing it.

I'm more mad at myself than the store for not checking the tags in the first place and not noticing until a day later, but I'm at least happy that the Best Buy customer service people have all been "oops, that's TOTALLY our bad, we'll replace that for you right away."

So yeah...that's been my week. A comedy of technical errors.

Here's to hoping the weekend goes better!

Meanwhile

May. 13th, 2013 09:15 am
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
As you may have noticed on my WordPress site, I haven't quite gotten around to posting the next Blogging the Beatles post, though I should hopefully get one up by next weekend. It just so happens that I finished up the major revision of A Division of Souls a bit earlier than expected, and all my creative time has been dedicated to getting the manuscript all nice and tidy for submission. Given that I've been working on this novel nigh on a decade (granted, there were a few years in there where I was working on something else and letting this one stew), I believe it's high time I get this one out and away, and I'd like to make sure I'm doing it right this time. So yeah...that novel takes precedence.

Still, I should have gone on that site and posted a "more posts coming soon" filler much sooner. Sorry about that.

On the plus side, I've been doing pretty good with making sure I find time for my other creative outlets. I've posted a couple of new poems over at the Dreamwidth site that are crossposting here (which btw, I don't think I've ever had someone *squee* at my poetry before, so thanks [livejournal.com profile] anagramofbrat!) and making sure I get at least something new done each day. It helps that I put my poetry notebook, my journal and my Wacom under my monitor shelf as a way to remind myself to pick them up now and again. Feels good to do that again.

In the meantime, I've been listening to a lot of college radio again. I know..."When are you not listening to that stuff?" Heh. Well, considering that a lot of my desk listening has been either the now-sadly-departed AOL Spinner or my mp3 collection (and occasionally Save Alternative or Radio BDC), I figured it was high time to start branching out again. This time out I've been listening to a lot of KSCU out of Santa Clara University, their playlist is definitely up my alley--lots of indie rock, indietronica, and alt-folk, with a smidge of electronica thrown in there. Just the right level of indie that's not too outsider (like KALX in Berkeley), or trying too hard to cover every single possible music genre (which is another post entirely). In a very eerie way, its playlist is quite similar to WAMH's playlist back in the day--a good mixture of sort-of-well-known alternative, local, and obscure. This is definitely a station for listening. That is, it feels like a station for people like me, who are listeners and not necessarily partiers or hipsters. Well--I could go on about this, but I'm thinking I may have another WiS post in my brain instead. Either way--great station to listen to, well worth checking out.


On that note...Monday beckons and I've got stuff to do these next few days, but hopefully I won't be as scarce as I have been. Hope everyone else has a spiffy week! :)
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)


Front 242's Front By Front! album has to be in my top ten albums of 1988, partly due to "Headhunter" being such a kick-ass single. This band is one of the original leaders of EBM (electronic body music), an intriguing mix of dance, synth, and post-punk that began in Belgium and became successful on college radio and dance floors in the mid-to-late 80s. In America many of the bands ended up being tied in with the WaxTrax label, which released many European EBM albums and singles and inspired many US bands such as Ministry and Front Line Assembly.

I bought the cassette of this at Al Bum's in Amherst MA. The store was on North Pleasant Street, next door to the gas station (there's a handful of boutique clothing stores there now). It was in a perfect location, right in the middle of the downtown shopping area and equidistant from both Amherst College (at the southern end of the town common) and UMass (just north of the shopping strip). There's a tiny parking lot in the back that didn't have meters, so if you were lucky, you'd find a spot and be able to hang out in the store for a good long time.

I don't remember how long this particular Al Bum's had been there before I found it, but by the time I started going there whenever my family went shopping there (or more often, when my dad and I would drive down there), probably around 1985-6 when I was still looking for Beatles bootlegs, of which they had a good handful.  I knew of their Worcester store (up the street from That's Entertainment, who also had a great Beatles bootleg selection).  By the time I'd started buying all the stuff I'd heard on college radio, I knew this was a good place to go. This was when I knew I'd have little luck searching at Strawberries or Musicland or any of those chain and mall stores for anything deeper than maybe the latest Cure and Smiths albums...Al Bum's was my first foray into the indie record store. Even when I and my friends discovered Main Street Music in Northampton, we'd always visit Al Bum's if we were in the Amherst area, especially if we were going to hit Panda East or Bonducci's as well.

I remember it being a very dusty place, I'm not sure why. I think it's because its prime color was a beige-brown from all the wood bins and the uncovered ceiling, and the overstock racks underneath were always dusty. Most of the walls were covered with posters you could buy up front, the usual Smiths and Cure and Bob Marley posters and all that. The walls were lined with the vinyl bins, with the tape wall way at the back behind clear plexiglass. Near the door was a magazine bin and that week's stack of The Valley Advocate. If I recall, the narrower middle rows were first carrying the non-rock titles and the seven-inch singles (and a small section near the front for the new releases), but that would later change to the vinyl area when they started selling cds in earnest.

I seem to remember buying this particular Front 242 cassette one October afternoon soon after it came out, and after hearing "Headhunter" a number of times on WAMH (they'd released that single about a month earlier). Back then the format I purchased was based on two things: 1)whatever format I had their other stuff in, and/or 2)how I'd listen to it the most. I bought a lot of cassettes on the premise that I'd be doing a lot of Walkman listening with them, and I knew this one would get quite a few plays. But I also remember that I bought it the same day I unexpectedly saw Chris coming in to the store. He'd graduated high school the year before me and was now at UMass right up the road, so it was a pleasant surprise to see him again. We chatted up the latest gossip and what new albums we were lusting over (trust me, that tended to be the focus of a LOT of our conversations back then), and so on, then went on our way.

I don't remember when the store closed up, but it must have been in the early 90s when I was in college.  The original in Worcester had stayed around for decades, but the Amherst store just vanished once I headed out to Boston, same with the Leominster store.  I'd later be a regular at Mystery Train up the street, but for the most part it was Al Bum's that originally paved the way for my indie collection.
jon_chaisson: (snoopy snow)
As usual, I find myself stuck at work on Black Friday. Somehow I've never found myself that far up on the professional totem pole where I can actually take days around a holiday off. Not that I'm complaining at this point, mind you...I work at home now, so I'm safely ensconced in Spare Oom, listening to my music and letting the day pass.

I gave up the Fourth Quarter Madness back in 2005, when I quit Yankee Candle to move down to New Jersey to live with [livejournal.com profile] emmalyon. Since then, I've gotten stuck in the office (or in this case, at home) on the Friday after Thanksgiving and the day before Christmas. The stress isn't nearly as bad, considering I'm no longer lugging boxes or fielding customer questions. It's been replaced by the ennui of working in an office that's open while all its clients are out of office. We're that office that's open "just in case something happens". The upside is that more often than not, it's a quiet (if slow) day and I get to catch up on other things. The downside is that I'm sort-of chained to the chair until 4pm, as this current job doesn't have half-days.

I think the first time I actually worked on a holiday was in 1988 when I worked at the local radio station, WCAT, back when it was AM-only. The station had been run via satellite feed by then, so all I had to do was sit around and ensure the commercials kicked off. As I didn't have my license at the time, my Dad would drop me off and pick me up a few hours later. This wasn't too stressful, just the station manager watching over me like a hawk and calling if I was a half-second off on the cues I had to hit. Other than that, I used the time to get homework done, do some reading, or talk with my friends on the phone. That Christmas was pretty quiet, so I was able to kick back and play some music on the monitors, and even snuck in a play of Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" over the air. I'd do pretty much the same when I worked there in 1995 into 1996.

I know I worked on the days surrounding the three holidays (T-Day, Christmas and New Years Eve) in the last few years I was in Boston. With few exceptions, I pretty much took the weekend off and headed home to be with family, but I'd work a day or so before and after the holiday. I remember on New Years Eve in 1993 and 1994 I had to work, and I'd try to get home as quickly as I could so I could catch the end-of-year countdown on WFNX (some traditions die hard).

The HMV years were of course my introduction to working high-volume retail in Q4. For four years straight I'd work on Black Friday, Christmas Eve, and New Years Eve. I didn't really mind it here, even it did get crazy--part of it was because I'd be hiding up back, preparing the constant flow of product coming in, or I'd be one of the register jockeys (I was a fast ringer, so I'd get the lines cleared pretty quickly), or I'd be offering my music trivia nerdiness out on the floor. Like I've said before--despite the occasional frustrations, it was one of my favorite jobs, even on the major retail holidays.

I'd also work on those surrounding days at Yankee. Those days would get insane for various reasons--ten hour days starting at 4AM six days a week, lack of storage space, a huge volume coming down the delivery shutes, shortages of workers--but with the shipping department, you kind of get numb to the actual job itself. The mechanical side of your brain focuses solely on building safe pallets of product to be shrinkwrapped, stored, and put onto the trucks, but the social side of your brain would end up going elsewhere. Despite the stress, we'd all laugh and talk and joke. There were a few blowups and firings, but for the most part we got the job done the best we could.

So yeah...at 41, I'm not in the least bothered by the fact that I still have to work on Black Friday, or Christmas Eve, or New Years Eve. I kind of expect it, really. If I can manage to get the days off, I will of course try for it, but I don't expect that to happen.


That said, I don't mind shopping on those days either. Maybe it's that I have a high tolerance/patience level for it, but it's never completely bothered me to be in a crowded mall or a store like Target during the busiest time of the year. Sure, there's the usual idiot in the parking lot, or the clueless goober taking up the entire aisle, or the impatient lady in the checkout line repeatedly sighing quite audibly, but you know--it's a small price to pay. I think it might be that I like being surrounded by people even if I'm not connecting with them at all. Even the music doesn't bother me all that much (with very few exceptions).

It's part of the festive atmosphere, and I enjoy that.
jon_chaisson: (Default)
Woo! Long weekend for relaxing, doing fun stuff, and getting important stuff done before our trip! I'm keeping a mental list of things I (or we) need to do before then, and I'm sure something will be forgotten, but nonetheless, I'm planning on this weekend being a good one, especially since the weather is definitely in our favor.

Yesterday was a rather NOISY way to start, as we had a)the Blue Angels practicing overhead, and b)our building maintenance guy fixing our shower, as the diverter valve (the middle one that changes the flow from the tap to the shower head) was pretty much kaputt. He pretty much tore the old hardware out and replaced it with new hardware along with a new shower head, so much clanging, crashing, pipecutting and thumping (and whistling and singing in Polish, I should add) took place in the bathroom, all while jets were WHOOOSHing overhead. He was also gracious enough to fix a major leak in the kitchen sink as well, and recaulked around the sink itself as well, which was quite nice of him. A very odd and noisy Friday indeed, but a good one!

Today was spent heading over to the de Young Museum in the park, so we could see a few shows going on: a collection of modernist paintings and a retrospective about Rudolf Nureyev. The second of which, of course, made me think of the Love Tractor song of that bears his name.

After a bite to eat at our favorite restaurant (Q, down the other end of Clement), we headed up to the Laurel Village shops for coffee and a few small things, including an plug adaptor for our trip. We also stopped by the Books Inc there, where I didn't actually buy anything, but made mental notes to check out a few music books that just came out (Ann & Nancy Wilson, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, and a collection of John Lennon's letters). After that we stopped at the OfficeMax for more shopping (Emm got a new toy and I got a messenger bag). And on the way home we stopped at a tiny bakery just off Clement that had some tasty looking cupcakes. I, of course, thought their cake scrap parfait (chocolate cake bits with layers of funfetti frosting in between) was the Most Brilliant Thing Ever and ordered it straight away. As of 6pm, we are both still full and have no plans on having dinner any time soon. :p

So yeah...busy Saturday! Tomorrow we don't have anything exciting planned, so it'll most likely be filled with more errands like food shopping and whatnot. I will also be continuing my crash course in Rosetta Stone French, a bit of writing, and laundry. I'm sure football will also make an appearance.

And yay, I get Monday off! That day will be spent dropping off the car at the Honda place downtown, taking the bus up to the Haight, and hanging out up that way for a bit. Amoeba doesn't open up until 10:30, so that leaves me about 2.5 hours to kill, but I'm sure I can find a coffeeshop I can hide in. And once I'm done there I can just take the N train back downtown and pick up the car from there. That reminds me--I should probably stuff the book and clothing donations in the car too, so I can drop those off on the way back. Get everything done! :)


So yeah...two more weeks before we head off to Paris. It's still weirding me out that we're going there on vacation for a full week (just slightly over, actually), but I'm really looking forward to it. My mind is racing with all the things that need doing before we head out, all the preparation and whatnot, and the anxiety that I won't do my name justice and speak French badly enough to get laughed out of town, but aside from that...I'm looking forward to it all. We're staying at this tiny little hotel on this tiny side street about a block and a half from the Louvre and the Bibliotheque, so we will of course be stopping at all the museums and the stores and the cafes, check out Notre Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower, and all the fun stuff. I've already decided that at some point we will hang out at a cafe on the Left Bank and I will do an appropriate Murph drawing and write a poem. Just to say I did. ;)

Woo, two more weeks! :)
jon_chaisson: (Default)
Whew! Long day today. Double win at IKEA, as I was able to get a new Billy bookshelf--I think their model has changed somewhat, as this one is about four inches higher, an inch or so deeper, and about an inch or so wider. Still, was able to park it in place of the smaller one and fill it up with all the YA and manga. The shelf near the door is now filled with my music books, and we even have some space left!

Also! NEW DESK! Bought this puppy right here for a measly $69, and it's quite nice. So now Spare Oom has two desks in it, at least until I get rid of my old one. I'm going to post something down in the lobby and see if anyone here wants it, and if not, then I'll go the Craigslist/Goodwill route.

I still need to move around and/or arrange a few more things here in Spare Oom, but I'm really liking how it's shaping up. I shall post pictures once everything is settled.

I should also add that it was RIDICULOUSLY foggy for most of the day, at least here in San Francisco. The stuff as so thick that on a stretch of Route 35 near the Olympic Club (yep, that's where they had the big golf tournament the other week), I could barely see three cars ahead. It cleared up a little more by the time we hit 280, and of course it was relatively clear by the time we got past SFO. It kinda-sorta cleared up a little this afternoon, but it's now ridiculously foggy again, and I can hear the foghorns in the bay going off like crazy.

Now to write some words!
jon_chaisson: (Default)
So today [livejournal.com profile] emmalyon and I are heading down to East Palo Alto to the IKEA to pick up a new bookshelf. This one's going to replace one of the shorter two-shelf bookcases in Spare Oom, so we can finally give in and actually have more space for some of our books. [This would explain the subject line, if you know IKEA's odd Swedengish naming devices for their furniture. Why they call these bookcases "Billy" I have no idea.]

There's also the chance that I may pick up a new desk as well. My current one (also bought at IKEA, back in 2005 in New Jersey) is in decent shape, if a bit dinged here and there. Since I've been working at home, I've been thinking of getting one more like Emm's that has a few drawers up top but the underneath is totally open. The reason for this is to move my PC underneath there, so I can free up desk space--this is so my work-at-home stuff won't be crowded up and squished into a small area. I may have to buy one or two more storage boxes for the errant stuff I have in my drawers, but that shouldn't be a problem, they're pretty cheap there.

That said...this will ultimately mean that I need to get rid of the old desk, which I think I'm probably going to do on Craigslist. I'm totally fine with giving it away at this point, it's served me well. If no one wants it, I can definitely call our local Goodwill and see if they can pick it up.

Oh! And there's a Best Buy across the street from the IKEA...so we can go over there and see if they have one of these little jobbies. We have one already for Spare Oom, and I'm thinking of getting another for Spare Oom so I can use one for the home PC and the other for work, without having to switch back and forth. They work wonders, actually. :)

So yeah, that's our exciting Saturday. What's up with y'all?
jon_chaisson: (Default)
Today's excitement included quite a lot more walking, a lot of impulse purchases, really tasty brunch, and even tastier ice cream. And it's not even 4pm yet!

Started out by walking up to Q Restaurant, our favorite local place at the other end of Clement, and had brunch. I ordered the black bean cake benedict (sort of like a crab cake only made with black beans and other small veggie bits in it, topped with eggs benedict and a few slices of avocado), which was heavenly and quite messy. And of course as always, we timed it so we got there about 20 minutes before the lunch crowd came in.

From there we walked to the end of Clement and caught the 33 Stanyan, which took us down to the Mission. Our main idea was to go to Borderlands Books, but since we were a bit early, we of course stopped at Imagiknit on 18th Street, where Emm picked up more yarn to play with (including some Malabrigo that had a wonderful dark blue (color name "Paris Night") that she'll use to make a scarf for me).

Heading east down 18th we were tempted by Bi-Rite ice cream, but given our fattening brunch, we figured we could wait a bit, so onwards to Borderlands Books! We picked up the latest [livejournal.com profile] seanan_mcguire book One Salt Sea, [livejournal.com profile] aberwyn's second Nola O'Grady book, and all three of [livejournal.com profile] burger_eater's Twenty Palaces novels (OSS and 20P book 3 were both nicely displayed up front, I should add), among other things. I like to make sure I support my LJ writer peeps! :)

(I should add that the Mission District is definitely becoming more and more of a Hipster Haven, at least on the strip of Valencia we were on. Lots of cafés, galleries and boutique stores opening up down that way.)

So on the way back we deemed it time for Bi-Rite ice cream! Thus:



Malted vanilla ice cream with crunchy caramel bits in it...and a scoop of cinnamon ice cream underneath. VERY tasty.

After that, we'd decided to head back and jumped on the 33 Stanyan back to the Richmond...

...and ended up jumping off in the Haight again, where we found this and brought it home:



...an Ami Spruce Burgundy guitar from Art & Lutherie guitars out of Canada, and [livejournal.com profile] emmalyon's birthday present! She'd seen one just like this up in Brattleboro when we were there in July, and found one at the guitar store in the Haight.


And finally we hopped back on the 33 back to our neighborhood, walked down Clement, got yet another coffee, and headed back home. So yes, lots of walking and eating and spending. I think we're good with the musical instruments now (note to self: hide any pictures of accordions from Emm, she seems to have a thing for them too). Expect some recordings in the future. :)
jon_chaisson: (Default)
Ah, the long weekend finally approaches. It's been a hell of a week and I've been waiting for the holiday weekend to arrive.

So! What's on tap for the weekend, then?

--Today we're driving down to the Pescadero/Half Moon Bay area, which we haven't gone to in some time. We'll be lunching at Duarte's Tavern (we haven't gone there in ages), and yes I WILL HAVE MY OLALLIEBERRY PIE. We'll head back by stopping at the roadside farmstand (if it's open) and the awesome Ink Spell Books in HMB. I don't believe we had any other plans for shopping, but we'll see.

--The usual errands of cleaning and perhaps a bit of food shopping...nothing too exciting there. Although I really should make a conscious effort to continue straightening up Spare Oom. There are some books we can donate to the library and clothes (and things) we can donate to Goodwill, pictures we should hang, and bins to sort through.

--Downloading. I promised [livejournal.com profile] emmalyon I'd download some new albums she's been looking for, so I'll either use eMusic or Amazon for that.

--Writing, of course. Nothing new to report at the moment, but I may have an update at the other writing LJ soon.



Other than that, I plan on sleeping late, doing some walking around the neighborhood, and attempting to relax. Hope everyone has a good weekend! :)
jon_chaisson: (Default)
Please talk me out of this, because I'm this close to buying this radio off eBay today. The price is a tad bit high ($110 plus S&H), but it's probably about the same amount it was sold for back in the day, and it's in good condition.

This is actually a half-step up from the Jonzbox model I posted previously. It's exactly the same except that the radio has SW1 and SW2 (shortwave 1 and 2) in addition to AM and FM. Everything else is the same, right down to that little funky square orange mute button on top.

Not that I'd ever get rid of the Jonzbox...just that I'd have a better-working version if I bought it.


What say you, dear LJ-ers and others?
jon_chaisson: (Default)
This is the first weekend in awhile where we don't have anything planned. No trips, no driving anywhere, no opera/symphony, no events, not even any hiking plans. The only shopping is a trip later to Trader Joe's, and that's it. We're considering it a vacation from all our vacation plans, considering June was packed, we were just in Seattle last weekend, and in a few weeks we're heading back east to visit family and friends. We do have the State Fair next weekend (as well as the last Harry Potter movie, though I think we're probably going to wait a week on that to avoid the crowds). So yeah...this weekend? Nothing. :)

This, of course, makes me want to make a list of things to do this weekend anyway. To wit:

--Wait for the DishTV guy to come in and install our new receiver box. Our old one finally decided it didn't want to give us audio anymore. He should be here sometime before noon, hopefully. So come to find out, we were waiting for the DTV guys to drop off the receiver box at the store, where I'd then pick it up. Which I did, while on my way to drop off some e-recycling. It's activating itself right now.

-- Trader Joe's run, as stated above. No TJ run, but Emm walked up to the Fresh & Easy while I prepared stuff for the recycling. We may do a run to the Grande tomorrow for fruity goodness.

--WRITE. (Ed.: I'm getting there, just getting this other stuff done.)

--Finally run a hard-drive eraser on my old PC so I can donate it, as it's been gathering dust in my closet for the last year or so. Done! Didn't clean it, but didn't have to, as the e-recycling place will do it for us (for an extra $30 I could have had them crunch the hard drive into little tiny microscopic bits, but I don't think I needed to go that far...). Also dropped off the old phone, the old Roku, and the old router. More room in Spare Oom (and my closet)! Yay!

--Continue cleaning stuff in Spare Oom, perhaps? It could do with a bit more tidying. And dusting, come to think of it. Currently doing this. Put stuff up on eBay as well. Yay getting stuff done! :)

--WRITE some more. I'd like to see if I can get a lot done, perhaps play a little catch-up.


And if we feel the pressing need to go outside, perhaps we can do a coffee run or something.


But yeah...other than that...I got nothin'. :)
jon_chaisson: (Tunage)
So yes, as was my duty, I headed up to Amoeba today for Record Store Day (Emm headed instead over to the de Young Museum to check out the Olmec stone head and the Balenciaga fashion exhibits) and spent mumbletymumble dollars on some nifty things. It was a bit of a chore getting there, as I decided not to wait the extra 24 minutes for the next 33 bus to get me just over a mile's distance. Walking up Arguello to Fulton wasn't too bad...but walking from Fulton up to the northeast corner of GGP is a bit of a chore, since it's all uphill. On the way I did walk by 2400 Fulton, known in 60s lore as the house owned by Jefferson Airplane, which looks pretty much the same as it did back then.

[Side note: one of these days I'd like to take a walking tour through the Haight and take pictures of all the houses and stores that were famous back in the hippie days...I know it's probably been done and posted/published, but given that I live in this city and am just a bus ride away from a neighborhood with a very famous musical history, it would be fun.] [ANYWAY...]

So! The spoils:

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Part I dvd

Buffalo Tom, Skins (Ltd Edition with outtakes cd)
Crowded House, Intriguer (surprised we don't own this already)
Crowded House, Travelogue 2010 (3 cd live album I didn't know existed!)
The Feelies, Here Before (Yay, new album!!)
Foo Fighters, Wasting Light (WOOO! Been waiting for this one!!)
Good Charlotte, Cardiology (yet another album I picked up for Emm...I sense a theme here)
Ladytron, Best of 00-10 (I keep forgetting I like them)
Low, C'mon (came with a free 5-track acoustic EP)
The National, High Violet (Ltd Edition with extras cd...again, another theme here)
The Smithereens, 2011 (Yay, new album, with Don Dixon producing!)
Yellowcard, When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes (Yay, new cheap album!!)


And some odd freebies, including random posters, an Epitaph Records sampler, a Christian Gospel sampler, and a Belle & Sebastian seven-inch. I figure that B&S single is the only thing I'll end up saving...

I was very close to buying the new remaster of The Church's Starfish (which has an album's worth of extra tracks), but I think I'll wait on it for now, since it just came out and was a bit over twenty-two dollars. Yeah, in the past I'd have picked it up despite the price (and if I hadn't picked up the Harry Potter dvd, it may have made the cut), but I figure I'll wait for a sale or find it online for cheaper.


So! After a few hours' of browsing and listening to the Kinks' Lola vs Powerman and the Moneyground, Part One (a very odd choice for Amoeba's store play, but a nice one nonetheless, at least it wasn't something horrible or earshattering), I headed out to Golden Gate Park to meet up with Emm, who by this time was hanging out at the Arboretum. I cut through due west, surprising myself by finally finding Hippie Hill (and yes, there were neohippies there) as well as the very quiet and nice AIDS Memorial Grove, before coming up on the back end of the Academy of Sciences. There was, I believe, a high school band playing Sousa marches on the Music Concourse stage. That's when Emm and I finally met back up and headed home. We stopped at the Hawaiian BBQ place on Clement on the way (Two large chicken katsu sammiches and 2 drinks for just $8.50? That's a steal!), a quick shopping stop at the Smart & Final, one last stop for iced coffee/tea, and then home.

So yes...I'm tired, but we had quite a lot of fun today, and I got to celebrate Record Store Day in the process. Woo!

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