One of the cool things we have in the bookstore is a world map with the legend, "The world walks through our doors. Where are you from?" Our visitors mark their hometowns with map pins, and we have pins in every state and continent, including Antarctica, where two customers were stationed for a year. Last week two USA-centric visitors were admiring the map.
"Wow!" one said. "Lots of people from all over America! Especially that state there." She gazed at the map with a puzzled look on her face. "What is that state--the one with all those pins?
A young man about 18 years old came in the store the other day and asked for a copy of Breaking Dawn. He was dressed all in black and was wearing vampire fangs. Even though nuance is often lost on me, I got it even before he said that his outfit was his vampire look. He asked me to retie his leather "Edward" bracelet. ("Make sure it has three knots. It's very important to have three knots." Otowi Station. Your full-service bookstore.) Then he invited me to check out his cool Edward necklace, which he hauled on a chain from the depths of his shirt. He said the only thing missing from his look was glitter that would show up on his face when the sun shone. So I sold him a bottle of "Little Princess Body Glitter."
I thought vampires would use "Fang for Men Glitter," but what do I know?
I entered a contest for small businesses. The prize is a $25K grant. Please read my story at the Intuit site and vote for it. (The formatting is weird, but I think you can figure it out.) Pass the word on Facebook, too. Thanks!
Yesterday at Otowi Station we had our third annual celebration of Einstein's Birthday and Pi Day, and of course we featured Pi Cake. Taking their cue from the cartoon of Einstein holding a test tube with a cocktail umbrella, the bakers at the local grocery store really got into the decorating.
Because Pi Day fell on Saturday this year, we had huge complement of little kids, who smeared cake and frosting from hell to breakfast. Fortunately, Kathleen was quick with the carpet cleaner.
Yesterday Michele and I went down to Santa Fe for a book release party at Garcia Street Books for Stephen Mitchell, adaptor of The Second Book of the Tao and husband of Byron Katie. The bookstore was packed (Michele said she counted about 50 people), but from the way the place cleared out after the talk at the signing, most of the folks apparently just wanted to get close to Katie any way they could. One guy was even handing out cards for the class he was teaching on Katie's "The Work."
The woman who sat in front of me wanted everyone to know that she had read Mitchell's and Katie's work, so the reading by Mitchell went something like this.
"As you know, my version of the Tao Te Ching--
"--was published in 1988. The Second Book of the Tao was published this year."
"A second book of the Tao, you ask? There's no such thing! What did you do, pull it out of your hat?"
"Let me read from a couple chapters. Chapter 2. "
"MMMMmmmmm." ["MMMMmmmmm" for the chapter number?!]
Before sorrow, anger,
longer, or fear have arisen,
A soulful sigh.
you are the center.
"Mm hm. Mm hm."
When these emotions appear
and you know how to see through them,
you are in harmony.
That center is the root of the universe;
that harmony is the Tao,
which reaches out to all things.
"How true. How true."
Once you find the center
and achieve harmony,
heaven and earth take their proper places
and all things are fully nourished.
"Mmmmmmm! Mm hm. Mm hm."
She went on like that for 30 minutes. At the end of the reading, Mitchell asked whether anyone had any questions. Up went her hand immediately. From the force she should have dislocated her shoulder. "What's it like being married to Katie?"
Mitchell was very gracious. Instead of telling her, "That's none of your damned business," he spoke in graceful, slightly vague metaphorical terms about his wife while the woman made yummy sounds all through his response.
When Mitchell stepped to the table for the signing, the woman was out of there like a shot. About 15 other people, Michele, and I stayed to get our books signed and to shake his old cow hand.
In a response to my grousing about David J., Chuckbertwrote, "I hear Otowi Station is having Pi cake (?!) on Pi day." Here, for your entertainment and delectation, are some images of previous Otowi Station Pi cakes. We get them from the bakery at Smith's grocery store; they're white cakes with raspberry filling and buttercream icing.
From third to seventh grade I was always in the same class with David J., who was the biggest teacher's pet who ever drew breath.
In fourth grade he got up in front of the class with his book of questions and answers. When he asked, "Do monkeys cry?" he screwed up his face and asked the question as if he were crying. The rest of the class rolled their eyes, but Mrs. Singer was enchanted.
He won the speech contest in fifth grade with his recitation of "Casey at the Bat." Instead of a baseball cap, he wore his little round Cub Scout hat on the back of his head, which everyone thought was so cu-uuuu-uute. When he got to the line, "And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow," he swung his little baseball bat with a downward chop. The teachers lapped it up because it was so cu-uuuu-uuu-uute. The boys in the class were ecstatic that he won, and they stood outside the classroom and chanted, "We want David! We want David!" at recess.
In seventh grade he got the award for best librarian's helper from Miss Ketola, and he beamed as he pranced up to the stage to receive his award.
The worst was in fourth grade, though. One day at show-n-tell, he asked, "What day is like a command? March fourth!" Then he marched forth with his chest thrown out and swinging his arms and lifting his knees up high. It was so cu-uuuu-uuute!