Sunday, October 31, 2021

On All Hallows Eve


We made it to Halloween, which also ends our vacation, and sees me a year older.

I don't know that my Halloween pictures have been the best and most exciting pictures, but I do know that I now have to use them all up quick. Because after this it's not Halloween anymore. It's just some days in November, and Dentist appointments, and more miserable elections, and the painful acclimating to real cold.

What say we don't think about that yet? 

Okay then.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Halloween inches closer


As forecast here are a few more Halloween themed pictures to wallow in as we come right up to the brink of The Great Day.

I'm so excited I'm thinking of going to get some chocolate. Just for me. We don't get Trick or Treaters here.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Halloween in the Library


This picture below took an unreasonably long time to make, but it may be just the first of a few days of Halloween pictures. As a little bonus for you I'll add in a post from four years ago, nearly to the day (though not quite), that just happens to have had pretty much the same title as this one!

Though I normally worked on the night of this past Halloween Eve I elected to take a few hours vacation time to go home and hand out candy with my wife. While I was still at work I remembered I had some really nice scar and wound tattoos and so put a brutal looking gash on my forehead. It's just realistic enough that it caused people at the library to look at me with alarm for about two or three seconds until it kicked in that

1. I'm me, and

2. It's Halloween

At which point their interest significantly lessened. Later, handing out candy, some sophisticated third grader said "I like your cut." I found this very satisfying.

When 4:30 came around it was time for me to leave the library, and I was happy to do it, ever preferring to be with my wife. Nevertheless I was suddenly aware that I was going home to do much the same thing I would have been doing if I stayed at the library: Ritually hand out free things to dazed, oddly dressed people.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

More pictures on a theme


The title of this post today is "More Pictures on a Theme".

But what is the theme?

I think it might be continuing the theme of cramming stuff into my library, which, coincidentally, is sort of what we do with books there too.

The other possible theme is: I am on vacation showing you some of the pictures I made while watching "Babysitters Club" and "Life as We Know it" with my wife.

You know what, just pick out any theme you like and the photographs below will fit to match:

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

And so on


Continuing in the "keeping it light" vein of blogposts, I spent 112 hours on the following picture. It turned out "okay", I guess, maybe even something as exalted as "good". It did give me some ideas for going forward.

You are as ever free to look at it for as long as you'd like. 

It's of my library, but with some extra visual features added in:

Monday, October 25, 2021

Three more for the files


As we mentioned yesterday, I am on a little vacation from work, keeping my daily missives to you a little light and casual-like. My last day at work one of my dear and longtime colleagues said that she was looking forward to seeing what pictures I came up with on my time off, which was nice to say. It's always fun when my co-workers show an interest. I'm not sure I don't work harder on my pictures when I'm actually at work than I do when I'm home, but yes, I have a few more pictures for you to look at today, for good or ill.

I'm all hubris when it comes to writing and ideas, but with pictures, well, they're just pictures.

Amazing pictures!

Naw, they're alright sometimes.

Let's see what we've got then.

(I'm not really Sam):

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Failing Fall again


I am off work at the library for eleven days, which is very nice. It is a bit of Birthday Vacation. I'm not going anywhere. I thought I'd just focus on hanging out with my lovely wife, eating interesting things, and enjoying the last sweet bits of my favorite season.

What's my favorite season?

This one!

I'll be sending out my daily posts as ever, through the eleven days, but I'll be taking a fairly casual approach to it, often posting out of clerkmanifesto here, as it's easier to access and format. Sometimes there might just be pictures, if that's how I'm feeling.

I am taking, as ever this time of year, many not entirely successful pictures of Autumn. Maybe it's not my fault. Maybe it's too beautiful a time of year to capture. 


I have no complaints about trying. Here are a few Fall pictures that try their best:

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Gabe's Birthday


Among the many holidays we celebrate here at this blog, which is called Life is a Fountain or Clerkmanifesto, depending on how everyone is feeling, is Grape's Birthday. Sometimes we celebrate Grape's Birthday by writing a moving essay about Grape (here: an example that could lead to more examples if you like), and sometimes, especially if we're not entirely sure where Grape is and if he's reading along, we just decorate the blog real pretty like, put out some cake, and tell Grape we love him.

This year we also sent Grape 57 postcards!


You have a lot of questions?

Would you like a FAQ on Grape's 57 postcards?


Grape's Birthday Postcards FAQ

Why did you choose 57 as a number of postcards?

No reason at all. It was an entirely random number for a person in his late fifties.

57 seems like a lot. Are you sure it wasn't more like twenty?


What kinds of things did you say in your 20-57 Postcards?

Mostly "Happy Birthday". Other than that it was an awful lot like this FAQ when it came to the content.

What can I do to have my birthday celebrated here every year?

I don't know. Ask?

How can I wish Grape a happy birthday?

Just your asking will be taken as wishes.

And now lets sing together. Everybody choose your favorite tune (don't worry, I'll take care of the royalties on the copyrighted lyrics):

Happy Birthday to Grape,

On this day in October,

We're so happy you're older, 

And not dead. So...

Happy Birthday to Grape!

Decorative seasonal picture follows:

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

My missed calling

I was reading, or more accurately, having read to me in audiobook form, the novel One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde. Jasper Fforde is an author I have met once in person, and on numerous occasions corresponded with, though that always seems to end with him politely ignoring me and me feeling a little embarrassed by the whole thing. 

I'm a fan.

Anyway, without explaining this extremely difficult to explain book, there is a passing mention of how Madame Bovary is one of the worst name droppers in the entire fictional world. No, I can't explain it, sorry, read the book. But while I was aware that one is supposed to have something of a distasteful disdain for namedroppers and for their attendant character trait when it comes up, I instead had a sudden realization:

I would be a huge name dropper!

So it's a good thing I don't know any famous people.

Except Jasper Fforde. 

Did I mention that?

Monday, October 18, 2021

In Service Day 2021


As you read this I am off to my first In Service Day in five or six years. In past years I have avoided it by fleeing the country for Europe, which seemed like a classy, novelistic approach. The plan this year is that due to the Pandemic our library system gathers for In Service Day in a small assortment of our library locations, to spread out, then we crowd into the main meeting rooms therein, and watch various managerial self promotion presentations on a big screen for hours on end. 

But as ever the real challenge for me will be to not become consumed by my hate.

I usually manage this pretty well until we get to the insulting lunch of In Service Day. But I swear I'll do better this year! I just heard one of my colleagues tell a younger colleague about how lunch is the highlight of the day! A thin cheese sandwich made by a Thai restaurant is the highlight of the day!

 There are a lot of different people in this world. 

Some of them get very strange.

Meanwhile, because it has barely come up here in my daily missives  for half a dozen years, some of you (the luckiest of you!) may be wondering what our Library In Service Day actually is.

Here is a helpful primer that will explain it:

In Service Day FAQ

What is In Service Day?

I really have no idea.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

More escapist themes

More hard times in the library, looking for a way out.  

Today I am building staircases out of the library, or maybe they're not for leaving the library, but stairs that go up to a better library. I've always wanted to work in a better library.

I've had a lot of ideas for better libraries. 

Maybe these are just a couple more...


While I was writing this, and assembling pictures, a woman came up to the desk. She wanted to know "What's that book, I think during the Vietnam War, about a crazy rule they had?"

"That's a WWII book." I replied. "Catch 22, by Joseph Heller."

"Oh! That's it!" She cried. "Who's the author?"

"Joseph Heller. Heller. Do you want me to look it up and see if a copy is in?"

"No. I just wanted to text my son and tell him to read it. He's 17. He'll love it won't he? Any 17 year old would like it, right?"

"Only the ones who have noticed that there is something wrong with the world." I said.

"He'll like it." She replied.

How about this:

Here is a picture of me trying to find a way into the library:

Saturday, October 16, 2021

My new upscale library


Let's not talk too much about all this drifting back to clerkmanifesto.

 Let's just sit down on the couch here and I'll show you some pictures I've been working on. You can probably find one or two to like without trying too hard.

There is no great theme, though couches do rather come into it, and libraries. 

And watch out for splashes.

Dan releases the eagle:

Fancy Nancy does landscape design:

Mr. Putter rows the flooded library:

The library's plush new seating area:

The library's new "Social Room":

The secret entrance to the checkout area:

Friday, October 15, 2021

The fall of 24/7 America


It does seem unwholesome to complain, in a First World Problems sort of way, but America is falling apart. And I thought I should mention it. 

A co-worker, from Thailand, was sharing an amusing story about how a restaurant in Thailand remained open during a flood. It was very popular during the flood, and the guests seemed to enjoy the adventure and danger around the whole thing. My Thai co-worker was terribly amused by it.

I was just a little jealous.

"We used to have gumption like that in America!" I cried.

Open during a flood, ha! 

I'm not saying we shouldn't have closed down for the pandemic, or that we shouldn't be careful now as we limp into, if not quite the end of the Pandemic, more like the Pandemic's new ragged permanence. But I am a little bit freaking out about all the local coffee shops, cocktail bars, and cafes, the ones that have bothered to reopen at all, only being open for 12 hours a week. I am a little concerned about 



But who are these people? Were all these small shop and cafe owners and local foodies just running bistros for fun? Were they all so rich they realized they can merely work 12 hours a week if they want and if someone wants to go out on, say, a Wednesday, they can just suck it? Or have all these clever, industrious shop owners gone to work as Vice Presidents at Caribou and Target? Starbucks and Taco Bell? Hewlett Packard and Costa Gravas? Cheeto Lay and 3M, where they can pull down 200 grand a year doing marketing. 

Or is their $4,000 a month rent so not a problem for them to cover that opening up itself is optional, and making one or two hundred more dollars a week, by being open any time other than peak hours on the weekends, is simply not worth the trouble? And don't tell me about the staffing shortage because I have come to simply not believe in it. Yeah, maybe a section of unemployed people with other options is spurning the $10 an hour jobs, but the places I'm talking about? They usually pay better than that, especially counting tips, and these places could probably manage to even pay even a bit more if they were as interested in The Community as they like to profess they are. 

But far more importantly and tellingly, I am not seeing "We're Hiring" signs in any of these windows. 

You know what kind of signs I'm seeing in their windows?

Closed signs.

Target is open. McDonalds is open. Boring corporate soulless America seems to have recovered, and that's just... great. Fucking great. But an interesting beer at my charming local cafe, an actually properly made cappuccino? No, that's only available for a couple hours every other Friday.

I've puzzled it out. The answer is that America is doomed. Poor people still work like dogs, sure. But for everyone else? Not a single one of us works anymore. From the lowest of the low middle to the highest of the high, everyone is just collecting paychecks and looking busy, creating nothing in particular. Jobs are boring and not that hard or productive. Really making something, day in and day out, 60 hours a week, takes effort.

So make your cappuccino at home, or buy the fake ones from the chains.

The dream is over. 

Except on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, from five to nine.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

In the stacks


Not so much with the words right now, but loads of pictures. So here are a few on no particular theme, for you to make of them what you will:

Dan's hideaway:

Cat vampire at the craft store:

Frida visits another painting in the Fall:

Door at the end of the stacks:

A new way upstairs at the library:

Mrs. Piggywinkel considers heading to the teen room:

Another new way upstairs:

Our local eagle: