And here’s our version:
And here’s our version:
In May I quit a horrible 3rd shift factory job in order to become self employed. I make my income from two different sources:
1. I am a process server in Columbus, OH. That means I serve papers to people being sued; mostly collections, corporate lawsuits, and other civil cases.
2. I sell stuff on eBay and Amazon. I sell used books, games, electronics, musical instruments, typewriters, whatever I can find.
So my days are spent driving around Columbus, serving papers to businesses and individuals with frequent stops at thrift stores to try to find stuff to resell. I spend well over $1000 in thrift stores every month. I’d be surprised if a week went by that I didn’t stop in thrift stores 20+ times. Some of the stores closest to me I stop in 3 times a week. The two businesses complement each other very well, my schedule is flexible enough to change my plans whenever a process service client may call with a rush request.
My wife works with me, she handles a lot of the invoicing and paperwork for the process service business while also keeping track of how much money that comes in and goes out. We can work at 11pm or take naps at 2:30. However our house is always filled with weird crap that I’m trying to resell. My office is filled with vintage 80’s synthesizers, dictation machines, books, typewriters, a laserdisc player, piano rolls, old board games, and sewing patterns. It’s a lot of fun.
When I was in eighth grade my English teacher set aside two classes a week where all we did was read. There were no book reports or projects, no discussion groups, no assigned reading. You picked your own book and you sat and read whatever you wanted for those two classes a week. At the time I read little besides comic books and I never got into the young adult novels that my classmates read back then (and adults read now). For my English class reading I just grabbed whatever ghost-written autobiographies of baseball players that my dad had around. All that changed one day when I went to the library and checked out Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles.
This afternoon library find changed my life. The Martian Chronicles hooked me in a way that no book ever had before. I would say that I devoured it but I didn’t, compared to the baseball bios, it took me forever. But when I was done I found Fahrenheit 451 and then Something Wicked This Way Comes and then I hunted used bookstores for his collections of short stories. Ray Bradbury single-handedly turned me into a reader.
Ray Bradbury died today at the age of 91. While I would pick up other science fiction authors from time to time, I never had the passion for any of them that I did for Bradbury. Three years ago I reread The Martian Chronicles for the first time since the eighth grade and I was surprised how much I liked it a second time. As an adult I’ve found the world of science fiction and comic books to be dry and inhuman, failing to capture my imagination like when I was twelve. The Martian Chronicles had no such failings, holding up as something fantastical and as something soulful at the same time. Bradbury was the best of science fiction writers in an era filled with good ones, not because he more accurately predicted future technology or created complicated extraordinary worlds, but because he described rocket ships like a poet instead of like an engineer.
Here’s my book list of 2011. All links are to the product page at Amazon. Buy anything through my link and I get a cut, I then use the cut to buy more books. This past year was probably the year I read the most since I worked for the state of Pennsylvania and did nothing but sit on my butt and read for 7 hours a day. Part of this was an intentional effort to read more, part was due to a major illness I had in early summer that left me unable to do much besides read for a couple of weeks. If you see anything on my list that sparks a suggestion for further reading I’d love to hear it.
I’ve decided not to bother with “best of” lists. I work a lot and I don’t get to see every movie that gets released in a calendar year, so a “best of” list from me would just be uninformed and useless. Also most people don’t limit themselves to only watching films from the current year. This is a simple list of every film (and its director) that I watched in 2011 with a link to its IMDB page. Granted, none of you should care much about what I watched in 2011 so it’s just as useless as me putting out a “best of” list. So let’s call it a media diary. An * next to the movie means this was a repeat viewing.