Sunday, April 25, 2010

Recent reading... & other stuff....

I don't wanna write about being depressed, about being sad & grouchy & angry at the whole world for no real good reason. It's just a drag for everyone.
But now it seems to be affecting my job. So maybe I don't have a choice.
My boss has been complaining to one of my co-workers for weeks about minor little things I've forgotten to do at work -- VERY minor things, things my boss can't be bothered to do herself. But she can notice and complain about them. & then she can ask my co-workers if I've been tired or grouchy, or she can wonder aloud if maybe I just don't want to work there anymore.
Understand, these are VERY minor things I've been forgetting to do. Some of them I didn't even know I was supposed to be doing. & I've been working there 6-1/2 years.
Now I'm thinking the smallest little thing I mess-up might lead to me getting fired. If everything's not absolutely perfect, then....
See, the thing is, I thought I was doing OK. Granted, I'm not the stress-fueled busy bee I used to be at work -- partly because nobody notices if I work my ass off. & also because I'm 50 & I can't multi-task 9 hrs/day anymore. At least not at this job.
But I still thot I was going above & beyond. I still do things none of my co-workers do, I still clean & stock & take care of stuff nobody else seems to bother worth. I get the job done. I know what I'm sposta do & I don't waste any time. Tho I do stop & catch my breath now & then.
Hell, on busy nites like Fri & Sat I've even started mopping the store's floors after closing, cos there's no time during the late-evening beer rushes to do it while we're open. & I'm still getting outta the bldg at a reasonable time. & I'm not stressing-out while trying to mop around drunks.
But none of that makes any diffrence. Because I'm apparently missing little things. & I'm not happy enuf. I keep getting told that. Well, it'd sure help if the sun would come out for more than 1 day at a time. If the temps would pick up just a little, if it actually felt like SPRING here instead of Feb. On the sunny days I actually feel pretty good -- today was OK, & Thurs was the best day I've had in weeks & I'm not sure why. I'm not doing anything any differently. On Thurs I woke up early & couldn't get back to sleep, so I thot I'd go out & look 4 cheap books & music. I found almost nothing, but it was still a good day, & maybe just getting outta the house helped some.
...I've been depressed for months. I didn't really even realize it until my girlfriend hadn't heard from me in awhile, invited me out for a cuppa coffee & told me I was Not Myself & maybe I should Talk To Someone about it. I did go talk to someone for awhile, but I didn't like most of what I was told: Get out, make some new friends, join a writer's group, hit the Library. I'm too TIRED 4 mosta that. & I haven't followed-up.
Now the depression is worse. I haven't even visited HERE in a coupla weeks. Just didn't feel much like communicating, as much as this blog means to me. & it means a lot.
...I talked to my Dad on the phone on April 16th, the 2nd anniversary of my Mother's death. We had a good talk. We didn't even talk about Mom, tho my Dad reminded me that the 16th is also my Sister's birthday. We just gabbed 4 awhile, & in the course of it I said I planned to take some vacation time this year cos I've got no patience left for people's BS & I needta get away from the job for awhile. We talked about jobs & wages Back Home, & my Dad said: "You know, if you were to live with me, the rent would be cheap."
At my Mom's funeral my Cousin Carol (who I hadn't seen in about 30 years) greeted me with: "So, when are you gonna move back home? Your Dad really wants you to, but of course he'll never say it."
Suggesting the rent would be cheap is about as close as my Dad is ever gonna get 2 inviting me to move back home. To Idaho. The cultural wasteland, as I've joked here. The place where 1/2 of my nostalgia comes from. Of course it's not the same place I left 30 years ago, but....
I told my Dad that -- even tho I'd love to go back to Idaho -- I couldn't swing it financially, that Wash is 1 of the few places in the country where I can do what I'm doing & keep up w/ my bills.
But that didn't stop me from adding up the numbers. ...& I think it would be damn tight -- but do-able, depending on what kinda job I found at the other end. I might even B able 2 afford 2 rent a U-Haul trailer, tho I doubt my truck could pull it the 600 miles back home. My truck can barely make it over summa the hills around here....
But I'm tempted. Really.
4 a few days I hardly thot about anything else.
However: In Idaho, they think $10 an hr is "big money." I'll take a pay cut of about 1/2 if I can find a cashiering job.
Big problem: If I do go, even if I claim my Dad is in failing health (as far as I know he's OK), my roommate will likely lose his house. I've bn helping keep him afloat 4 the past 2 years.
Other issues: There is someone here I love. We have a lotta history. But I haven't seen her since Feb, haven't talked to her in 3 weeks (haven't felt like communicating, remember?), & she likely realizes my depression is worse -- & I assume she's sick 2 death of my BS by now. & I can't blame her. If I go, that will prove that whatever we had is Over. Ghod knows I've tried to kill it enuf times....
Is that all that's on my mind? Isn't that enuf?
But I was gonna review some books....

* THE ROLLING STONE RECORD REVIEW (1971) -- This is not the Ultimate Rock Criticism Xperience I was hoping 4, but it's a lotta fun, & it's the only thing that's made me laff out loud in wks. There is rather 2 much reviewing by RS founder Jann Wenner, who was never the most fluent of writers (tho a good interviewer). But there's lotsa great early work by Lester Bangs (including his classic reviews of Captain Beefheart's TROUT MASK REPLICA & the MC5's 1st album), Greil Marcus, John Mendelssohn, Ed Ward, Jon Landau, Arthur Schmidt, Langdon Winner & other early-'70s critics. Ward has a great negative review of ABBEY ROAD that had me laffing aloud when he called George Harrison's "Something" "so vile it will probably be covered by dozens of performers within weeks and become one of the Beatles' greatest successes." & he was right about the song's popularity, if not its vileness. Now, I admit reading stuff like this may not B every1's idea of a Good Time, but if U read music reviews at all then U've already got the disease.
Among the artists reviewed: Beatles, Stones, Dylan (Marcus has an ENDLESS review of Bob's SELF PORTRAIT), Airplane, Hendrix, Joplin, Kinks, Who, Procol Harum, Move, Rod Stewart, Moody Blues, CCR, Cream, Traffic, Cocker, CSNY, Joni Mitchell, Buffalo Springfield, Aretha, Elvis, Jackson 5, Zeppelin, Beach Boys, Stooges, Van Morrison, The Band, etc....
+ Robert Onopa: THE PLEASURE TUBE (1979) -- Vivid & involving, like Bob Silverberg at his sensuous, Dscriptive best, but w/ what coulda bn the grim&scary back-story from Barry Malzberg's BEYOND APOLLO (1972). Tho the book is convincing & almost hallucinatory in its vividness, it's clear from at least 1/2way thru where it's going & there R no real suprises. & it's not a fun trip. Had bn wanting 2 read this 4 ages -- Algis Budrys wrote a rave review of it in F&SF back in '79; Onopa is still writing short pieces 4 F&SF & other magazines....
+ Norman Spinrad: SCIENCE FICTION IN THE REAL WORLD (1990) -- Mostly a pretty-good collection of reviews from the pages of ASIMOV'S SF mag, tho a piece on why Philip K. Dick's later novels R his best is new here. Spinrad is great on the economic nuts&bolts that drive SF publishing, & his analyses R solid. I was also glad 2 C the only review of George R.R. Martin's rock'n'roll novel THE ARMAGEDDON RAG that I've ever found -- tho I disagree about why that book was a failure. I wished this book was longer.
= Norman Spinrad: STAYING ALIVE: A WRITER'S GUIDE (1983) -- This really IS about the nuts&bolts of SF publishing. & if U were a working writer back then it was probably invaluable. Now it's kinda dry, tho there R good things in it. (Has NE1 ever figured out why Gregory Benford's Nebula Award-winning novel TIMESCAPE never made it on2 the Hugo Award ballot? Bcos SF fans thot the book was boring?) The best thing here is a hilarious column on "Science Fiction's Best Award for 1980." Will the winner B the sentimental old fave the Hugo Award? Or will the pro writers instead choose the brand-new Prometheus Award, presented by the Libertarian Party along w/ $2,500 in gold!?
= Alexei & Cory Panshin: SF IN DIMENSION (1980) -- The book reviews R pretty good, but I read them when they were 1st published in F&SF. Summa them still make me laff, like when the Panshins call Ursula K. LeGuin's THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS "probably the best SF novel we can hope for in this, the year of Our Lord 1590." The long pieces on Heinlein I'm gonna havta save until later -- 1 of them, a LONG piece on THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST, takes up the last 1/4 of the book. I'll keep this 4 the reviews, but I wish there were more of the daring, trailblazing, supportive, encouraging, adventurous critical columns they wrote 4 FANTASTIC in the early '70s. Wonder what happened 2 those? I don't C how they coulda bn melded in2 the Panshins' HUGE SF history THE WORLD BEYOND THE HILL....

Currently reading: GOOD FICTION GUIDE, edited by Jane Rodgers, Oxford University Press, 2005 -- If U look at this as an update of the SALON.COM GUIDE TO CONTEMPORARY AUTHORS, it's pretty solid, & I'm amazed at how many SF writers R included in it: William Gibson & Bruce Sterling, of course, Neal Stephenson, sure, but -- Michael Swanwick? Nice suprise. & Roger Zelazny's in here! Bob Silverberg! But no Samuel R. Delany?! Philip K. Dick but no Barry Malzberg? Ray Bradbury but no Harlan Ellison? Joanna Russ but no James Tiptree Jr.? Jim Thompson but no Jack Ketchum? No Kathe Koja? ... Oh, & these folks think James Ellroy's a horror writer, 2....

4 comments:

rastronomicals said...

Tad --
Sorry to hear you've been having a tough time. I figured from your hiatus that you'd gone down to Olympia to protest the $100 million tax cut your broke state government just gave Microsoft. . . .

I wouldn't of course presume to give advice, but if wages would be down in Idaho, soda would still probably be more affordable . . . .

"Vile" is a strong word, but "Something" is by far worst song on my favorite Beatles album.

tad said...

R: Thanx 4 yr continued support. I'm feeling a little better these days.
& the Wash State Gov't DID pass that $1/pack addt'l tax on smokes -- $8.68 4 a pack of Marbs or Camels! The tax on candy & water starts next month, along w/ increased taxes on sodas, beer, gas, energy drinks....
"Something" the worst song on ABBEY ROAD? But then where does that leave "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" & "Octopus's Garden"...?
Thanx, as always.... -- TAD.

Gardenhead said...

Tad hope the sun is coming out for you soon. These things come in cycles. And just so you know, I'm always reading along to see how you're doing. :)

tad said...

Dr. G: Ghod bless ya, I am feeling much better these days. The sun has finally come out 2 stay 4 awhile here, & that has helped a LOT. I was starting 2 think the winter was never going 2 Nd....
Many thanx 4 yr kind words. ...& R U ever gonna get back 2 that Distended Top 20 U opened up the New Year w/? -- TAD.