Today was the last day of the Healthcare-NOW conference. After the HCN board meeting (which I had to chair and did so well) we went across the street for beers and Phillip and Margot came and joined Katie and the group. She was such a happy little baby full of smiles and joy. (Had a great pic but don’t feel comfortable without K/P’s permission.)

Janeen and I watched The Giant Mechanical Man tonight. It was a quiet movie about 30-year-olds figuring it out and falling in love. Joyous was a word I thought about after it. Not b/c the movie was so happy or stupendous, it was probably neither, but it was about a search for joy and the simplicity of it, of finding it in a single other person. Maybe only 6-7 thumbs up, but fit nicely into my thinking these days.

I got my Radon book (and Cometbus #55) in the mail today and was finished with it 40 minutes after J had put A down for bed. I’m not smart enough to understand everything Aaron and Travis are saying — but a big chunk of it boils down to that punk is right. Selfishly I wanted something more sappy, but I can’t wait to think it through some more, and hear Awww Geez again.

Came across this video and listened to it while I did page layout. Ian MacKaye is inspirational. Which means doing it, just being inspired is only half of the equation. It got the rust moving off the gears though.

One bit that was interesting—among ALL OF IT to tell the truth—was his saying that they wanted to make as much music for those who wanted to hear it. Not 10,000 records for 1,000 people or a room that holds 1,000 for 10,000. So Dischord started making CDs b/c people wanted them, or tapes when that’s what folks wanted and stopped when they didn’t. They sold 125,000 copies of Repeater on cassette.

Time to get to work!

When I came home today, Janeen and Avett were just finishing walking Miles. A was riding his new trike that he loves to ride. As they came down the driveway hill he was smiling — and it was a smile of sure pure joy and hapiness, unfettered by anything. It was the joyous expression of someone doing exactly what they wanted to do. He was soooo happy that it filled my heart.

Avett was screaming a lot today — he’s teething with like 5 teeth coming in at once. I tried giving him a bath before bed but 5 mins in he was screaming and standing up. I took him out to dry him off, but instead of his usual squirming he leaned in a nuzzled into my shoulder for a few minutes, something he’s never really done before. It felt so beautiful.

On the way out of town I made an initial pilgrimage to the Chamblin Book Mine. Having seen the the tsunami of books on someone’s instagram feed, I knew I’d have to try and go by on my next trip through Jacksonville. While I found a couple books I’d been looking for — a Zinn book on the New Deal, Wily Vlautin’s Lean on Pete and a Joe Strummer biography — the enormity and, uh, unique organization were a bit overwhelming, especially after a long work weekend.

Somehow at the union conference I was presenting at in Jacksonville, some co-workers and I ended up eating dinner at the Ruth Chris in the hotel. After getting over the ridiculous prices and setting aside the growing anxiety I had about my unfinished presentation the next day, I ordered a ribeye steak that turned out to be—in a word— amazing.

It was perfectly cooked, beautifully seasoned and super tasty.

Continuing what could probably be called the “Month of the Podcast” I listened to Guy Picciotto on WFMU’s Low Times Podcast. He was just like every interview I’ve heard with his Fugazi bandmate Ian MacKaye: Thoughtful, opinionated, quiet without being demure or understated, and passionate about everything he discusses. It was great.

Knowing I’d be driving 5 hours to and from Defuniak Springs for work, I downloaded a bunch of podcasts and grabbed some new albums to listen to (Iceage, Holopaw, etc.). One of the podcasts was The Book Show with Stewart O’Nan discussing his book, The Odds. The following exchange struck me as probably the reason O’Nan is my favorite author these days (in addition to his being a die hard Red Sox fan).

Joe Donahue: You look at this book and these characters even in your past work and you do look at hope, you do look at that word and that feeling and that desire of wanting something. That there is the hope that the situation that these characters are currently in will improve.

Stewart O’Nan: Oh, undoubtedly. That seems to be my focus. The books have wildly different settings, wildly different time frames, wildly different literary effects in terms of voice and style and all that, but it’s always keying on how do we hang on to some sort of hope, how do we keep going in the face of whatever loss we have to deal with. How do we do it? Because people do it. And what are the consequences when we don’t do it? What are the consequences when we give up?