Or Not: Isaac Veers West

Tropical Storm Isaac decided to shoot for Louisiana.  We had stormy skies all day in Tallahassee, but only sprinkles of rain.  Isaac is still not a hurricane, as much as the Weather Channel might like it to be.  It is shameless the way they try to blow it out of proportion.

A very, very busy Monday at the reference desk as we shift from Summer to the Fall term at FSU, FAMU, and TCC.  MF and I hustled for two solid hours this a.m., and when we were relieved for lunch I felt numb..  The afternoon was a hard slog up to 6 o'clock, but finally it was quitting time.

R. and I went out to Sahara for an easy supper: gyro, felafel and hummus.  Then home, where we said the rosary, watched The Journey Home, and watched a funny and wise 12-step classic, Stuart Saves His Family.


Here Comes The Rain Again

This August has been the wettest that I can remember.  While the middle of the country has been drought-stricken, here in North Florida it has rained and rained, in a month that is normally very dry and hot.

I had today off, and after taking Mr. Claudius out for a good long while, I worked for a couple of hours hauling fallen branches and sticks to the curb for pick-up.  Yes, Branches and Rain, it shall be ever thus.

And a good thing, too, that those branches needed removing.  I felt so low-down when I woke up.  My morning prayer was distracted.  I might as well have been reading a grocery list.  The only thing to do was to work and sweat and forget myself.

I picked some chanterelle mushrooms.  It's been a good year for them, with all the rain, but I've let them go until now.  After that it was easy:  a shower, lunch, and a nap.

And now, Isaac, which looks to moisten some Republicans at their convention in Tampa on its way North.  Will Isaac become a hurricane?


Declaration of Dependence

Today I finished the third volume of Jan Morris's historical Pax Britannica trilogy, Farewell the Trumpets.  It took me longer to read them than it took her to write them.  I read the central volume, The Climax of Empire, (1968), and the first to be published, back in the '90's.  I then bought the 1st and 3rd volumes, Heaven's Command, (1973), and Farewell the Trumpets, (1978), to read later.

If you are, like me, a white man of a certain age, you may have enjoyed films like The Man Who Would Be King, or Zulu, and at the same time have been troubled by their unabashed triumphalism.  Morris's trilogy is an attempt to sort out the meaning of the British Empire, good and bad.  She concludes that, in the end, the Empire was a force for good, and I agree.

Think what a lot of trouble we'd have been spared if the American Revolution had not happened.  Slavery would have ended without a shot being fired, and we would have social services to match the rest of the civilized world.

There is a good interview of Morris from 1997 in the Paris Review.


A Job At Popeyes

A woman wondered how she might print out a paper job application for Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen restaurants, the fried chicken chain.  I was doubtful, explaining that most jobs these days need to be applied for online.

I was pretty sure that this would be the case, but she had talked to someone at the local Popeyes over on Tennessee Street who said that she could print out a paper application to hand in.  She said they told her she could do this at the library.  Was I saying that this was not so?

What was going on here was that the woman had no computer skills and wanted to get a job at Popeyes.  I've complained here before about the unfairness of requiring people to apply online for jobs involving "manual labor".  Just having to apply for and check an e-mail account is often too much to ask of these job-seekers.  I had to try for her.

Would she like me to see if I could print out the application for her?  She smiled with relief, and confessed her lack of computer skills.

I tried the careers page at Popeyes.com.  It said Go to your local Popeyes for current openings >, but that took me to a MapQuest search which listed locations only for directions and coupons.  There was no way to see job openings.  Looking now at home, I still can't see how you apply for a job online with Popeyes through their own web site.

It looks like it is possible through Snagajob.  I recently helped some people looking for jobs at Kentucky Fried Chicken, and they were told to go through Snagajob, so maybe Snagajob is the up and coming fast-food job hiring portal.

I was showing the woman my dead-end search at the Popeyes site when a male friend arrived who knew how to find the fabled Popeyes application.  You searched for "Popeyes application pdf", he said, and those were indeed the magic words.  The application, from a site called NowHiring.com, looked fake to me, but I printed it out, and the woman was happy.

"Who knows?", I thought, "Maybe this is how it works at Popeyes."  I can't imagine how many applications they would get online if their web site offered an obvious way to apply.  If the person at the local Popeyes said to print one out and hand it in, I have to believe it.  It is probably what they can handle on a day-to-day basis, and I say good for them.


It Is Enough...

[Elijah] went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree; and he asked that he might die, saying, "It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am no better than my fathers."  And he lay down and slept under a broom tree; and behold, an angel touched him, and said to him, "Arise and eat."  And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank, and lay down again.


The Future of Genre Fiction

I wondered in a recent post whether e-book fiction might be the new "mass-market paperbacks", judging by the titles on the NYT e-book bestseller list.

A story in the Guardian, Four self-published authors on New York Times ebook bestseller list, by Alison Flood, quotes Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, "We knew this day was coming. Self-published ebook authors are landing on the New York Times bestseller list in a big way [and] lightning struck multiple times this week."

The  first comment to the story is perceptive.
What's interesting is that most self-published authors who gain any kind of success - and it's a tiny fraction of them - immediately sign up with a publisher.
But another commenter to the story, David Bridger, links to a keynote address by "paperback writer" Stephanie Laurens at the 2012 Romance Writers of America National Conference, Weathering the Transition - Keeping the Faith.  Interestingly, for Laurens, the current transition in publishing is not primarily to do with e-books.
You might think I mean the transition from print to digital, but no - while the shift from print to digital consumption is a major driver contributing to the critical transition that's causing the upheaval in our business, it's not the critical transition itself - which is the migration of readers from buying offline to buying online. Whether they buy print or digital doesn't matter - it's the fact that readers access our works online that's key, because once a reader is buying online, the author can reach that reader directly, and that alters one critical segment of our business irreversibly.