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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Unexpected Vacation

I've had two unexpected days off work because the internet has been down. Our server is located in the basement.  You have to lift a mossy wooden hatch and then step down five steep stairs covered with damp and birdseed from the bird feeder hanging off the eaves above them.  Then you're in a dirt-floored partial basement with a computer and peripherals sitting alone in the middle of the space as if they're on a throne in an underground command center.  Press the re-set button, then back up the steps, hands muddy and greenish after putting the cover back over cellar entry.  Usually the server re-boots and in fifteen minutes the DSL is working fine, and it's not a common occurence, anyway.  This time something was wrong with the internet provider, then with the DSL modem, but our lovely friend and network guy, Steve, straightened it all out eventually.

Meanwhile I had no choice but to take two days off.  This morning Sean and I went to PettiRosso for coffee and we ran into Don, the proprietor of Horizon Books.  His store recently closed its long-term (20+ years) location in a house up on 15th Avenue and is now downstairs with Recollection Books on 10th Avenue and also online.  Don glanced at the books we had with us at our table.  Sean and I had both brought books about oil.  I don't know what Sean's was  called, but mine was The End of Oil by Paul Roberts (He also wrote The End of Food* which I read a few months ago).  Sean explained he had put that particular book in his personal reading pile because it was underlined.  "Ah," said Don, "that's how we booksellers can afford to read books, we get the underlined ones."  We talked a little about local bookstores that have come and gone over the years.  Elliott Bay Book Company will be moving to our neighborhood in a couple of months, and word is they won't be carrying used books anymore.  Supposedly the owner doesn't like the smell.

Today was bright and sunny, beautiful.  There's nothing like Seattle during these February days of false spring -- sun, birds, cherry blossoms, daphne-scented air, brilliant green new grass.  I went for a walk around the hill, to Volunteer Park, then the G.A.R. Cemetery, and on to the lookout overseeing Lake Washington with the floating bridge and the Cascades in the background. 

*More food books worth reading:
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
Animal, Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

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