Chinese New Year's on Argyle Street, 1/31/2009

Chinese New Year's on Argyle Street, 1/31/2009

770.2 Miscellaneous photography

After watching the Chinese New Year’s parade, we and a friend of ours got some pho down the street. I have seen many varieties of pho before that included tripe, but this place had them all beat: you could get pho with penis. Next time I’m there, I may ask every single person in the restaurant if they had pho with penis. Not such a big deal, I suppose; bull gonads are quite a delicacy in some parts of the American South.

636.7 Dogs
331.7 Work

My time as a professional dog walker has nearly ended. Two nights ago at around 8:00 p.m., I received a call from a client informing me that his dog has a new collar, and he wanted to make sure I knew how to use it. I calmly told him I was familiar with the model he described before hanging up and throwing the phone across the toom.

I gave my notice today, somewhat warily, as I am not sure how long my book researching gig will last. But then again, who knows how long any job will last? I have said it before, but it bears repeating, the days of cradle-to-grave employment security are gone. We will not see their like ever again. Some of you, perhaps many of you, will say I sound like a broken record, but there is always somone out there who doesn’t know this. What always takes even me by surprise is just how much work it takes to find work, more so now that even the mighty city of Chicago is half a billion dollars in the red.

Regardless of the seriousness of the economic situation, the rules (I would hope) are always the same, and this is something I always mysteriously forget until someone gives me a dope slap: it’s a numbers game. Call, call, call. Network, network, network. Tell everyone you know you’re looking for work. Today, I magically remembered that elusive dictum and began my carpet-bombing campaign. A friend in New York may have something for me. An old boss gave me some tips. Hopefully, some people who have interviewed me recently will call me back to tell me how I did. And maybe, on my 100th call, someone will offer me something I haven’t seen in four years: a real job, with all the trimmings, benefits and paid vacation, retirement and dental. Does anyone remember those things?

And now, if you want to see some really good writing, surf on over to this page. Ya done good, Harvey.

636.7 Dogs

Shortly after moving to Chicago last month, I took a job with one of the many dogwalking services here in the city. I hate it. I admire the people who can make a living at it, but I’m not one of them. My boss has told me so several times, probably without meaning to. He has said several times he wants me to be more outgoing. I have spent most of my life feeling miserable about not being the kind of person who lights up a room. Only in the past few years have I found books and Web sites that have made me feel that how I am — quiet, shy, introspective, whatever you want to call it — is perfectly normal and acceptable. And now this yutz wants to make me feel bad about it all over again. Tomorrow, when I give my two-weeks’ notice, I’m going to tell him exactly that, in addition to the fact that this job makes absolutely no economic sense.

And I am also doing research on smiling — something I’ve been criticized for not doing often enough. If anyone has told you you need to smile more, I’d like to hear about it. I’ll be posting some excerpts from some of the previous research I’ve seen on this topic. I had to cut it off at 800 hits.

Lots of good news items yesterday:

Internet Archive wins Patriot Act law suit

Inside the Library of Congress

Despite proven return on investment, libraries still face budget cuts

Ban ‘Second Life,’ Congressman says

Same-sex penguin story leads ‘challenged’ book list

Clintons hold up release of more documents

Another book of crazy library stories

636.8 Cats

Enclosed please find the latest emanation from my cat, Otto. Sixteen years old, but still full of piss ‘n’ vinegar. Boy turns my computer into a damn Ouija board.

Other than inserting line breaks, I have left this message exactly as I found it:


Otto wrote the following message on 1/25/2008, at 6:39 PM:


I left my computer on the other day, with a Word file open, and my cat Otto typed out the following message while I was off doing something else:

????lllllll;;;;;;;’;/ 7

I had to clean up some of the spelling and grammar, but otherwise it’s pretty much exactly as I found it.

The questioning tone at the end is something new. I wish I had saved some of Otto’s earlier work. This shows such tremendous growth from those first, rather furtive attempts at self-expression that I really feel as if I’m a kind of midwife at the birth of an important new voice in the . . . oh, shit, he’s clawing the new chair.

(Actually, he didn’t type it; he simply fell asleep on the keyboard. My wife said the alert sound was going continuously for about a half-hour. My cat is 16 years old and pretty much stone deaf.)

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