Three and a half hours sleep isn't much, but it was enough. It got us to Astoria---and despite my prediction, I never did fall asleep in the car! (For those who have no idea what I'm talking about, look for yesterday's post. It's thrilling stuff!)
So I sat behind the steering wheel of a motionless vehicle most of the morning, yesterday, writing a bit, doing some digital art (on my phone), and playing Lego Indiana Jones on my 3DS (the machine was an X-mas gift from the girls.) Time moved fairly quickly!
For lunch, Mariah and I went to Geno's Pizza and Burgers---a great local spot with a sports theme and DECADES of newspaper clippings and photos from sporting events plastered all over the walls. Mariah had a salad (she's watching her figure), and I had a Hawaiian pizza sub (I'm watching my figure as well---and it reminds me of The Blob! [1958, with Steve McQueen! A classic...])
After I dropped Mariah back at the eye clinic, I headed into the very HEART of Astoria, found a place to park on Commercial Street, and hoofed it about a block to Godfather's Books and Espresso Bar, where I found several books that I would have loved to buy! I'm still on a tight-ish budget, though, so I tried to limit myself to $20.00.... (Oops.) The store had several art books published by Last Gasp, a comics and book publishing company based in San Francisco, and several of these collections were EXTREMELY tempting (I almost grabbed one called Blab Book, which had a cover painted by Shag [aka Josh Agle], but it would have consumed my entire budget...)
Instead, I purchased a book of Robert Browning poetry, an art book of Hieronymos Bosch's paintings, and a cool little book by Austin Kleon called Show Your Work! - 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered. (I'd read Kleon's previous book, Steal Like an Artist, and enjoyed it, so I took a chance...) I was a BIT over budget by the time I took my leave, but I'm happy with my what I found!
Before sliding out the door, I asked the cashier if she knew where I might find a music store, and between her and a customer who was reading a newspaper on a couch near the entrance, I was directed to a shop, same block but around the other side of it, called Terry's Mallternative, a thrift / music store FULL of instruments, electronics, records, cds, vintage stuff, and other goodies.
I've learned not to disregard disorganized stacks of old cds, and once again, my patience and love of digging paid off! I found an Astralwerks' collection (techno) and albums by Duran Duran, The Shamen, Frontline Assembly, Lou Reed, and Alice Cooper!!! (The Cooper cd, Special Forces, is considered one of his worst, often getting mediocre to terrible reviews from fans and critics. However, all the things they HATE about it are the elements I love: the synthesizers, the sometimes cold and detached vocals, the weird cover of Love's "Seven and Seven Is," and the New Wave / Post-Punk feel of the whole project. This is probably my second favorite Alice Cooper album, with only the Dada album appealing to me more, for obvious reasons.) AND to cap off my great finds, the guy running the counter (was it Terry himself???) only charged me Twenty Bucks for the entire pile of tunes! Dang....
On my way back to the car, the gods tested me, too, to see if I realized how they had pandered to my sensibilities. A street person, sitting in a huddle of blankets and humming along to a portable radio, called out as I passed, "Hey old man, got any spare change?" I know a cosmic test when I encounter it so---wait a sec... Did this dude just call me "old man," seriously??? I laughed (agents of the gods are funny), and I said, "I just got really lucky at the music store" then dug a fiver out of my wallet---which just about cleaned me out---and handed it to him. He said, "Thanks, man. God bless you!"
I almost asked him, "WHICH GOD?" But I checked myself before I wrecked myself. It's best not to be snarky when in the midst of a cosmic trial, so I just nodded and smiled and moved on.
All things considered, it was a pretty dang good day!
---Richard F. Yates (Holy Fool)
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