Saturday, October 30, 2004

NaNoWriMo

I'm gonna do it. Are you?

I remember when I first heard of writing a novel in 30 days, I pretty much agreed with Joseph Epstein's take:

Why should so many people think they can write a book, especially at a time when so many people who actually do write books turn out not really to have a book in them — or at least not one that many other people can be made to care about? Something on the order of 80,000 books get published in America every year, most of them not needed, not wanted, not in any way remotely necessary.

It's similar to the feeling I have whenever I hear someone say that they've picked up a digital camera. Oh god, another Photographer. Or whenever I see those YOU + HP commercials about how You're An Artist Now. Please.

But of course it's this snobby attitude (my BFA, my paralyzing perfectionism, self-loathing and fear of failure) that keeps my cameras in the closet. Ok, who am I kidding? They're just sitting here on the floor, collecting dust like HEPA filters. Damn, I need to clean...

What's that all about? That's no fun. And not productive.

I'm sure a lot of people out there have thought that the point of writing is to get famous, or rich or be recognized in some fashion.

We at Atomic Books, know that that is very rarely the case for writers. It can't even be the goal of most of the publications we carry (except for a deluded few). Our books are more about expression, obsession and community. People can't help it!

It's not really so much "Hey, look at me!" but "Hey, did you hear about this?" or "Are you like me? Do you love...?"

I don't even want my novel read (because you know it's going to be baaaaad). I just think the process seems like a fulfilling activity, and when done with friends (and we have a BUNCH of them signed up), could be a lot of fun. It's ridiculous. It's an exercise in anti-vanity. Exercise in futility? You mean like the coming election? Wait...

Really, we needed ONE MORE THING to do in November. When you have a million things to do, why not sneak in another? You get so much more done that way.

Scary


Are you tense? It's the scariest weekend ever.

Halloween's nothing compared to Tuesday.

Don't forget to turn your clock back an hour. Maggie.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Friday Blogabout - Wired

Baby Doll's been caught with some interesting dudes lately.

And Blug's got some made up talk about said dudes.

And of course, you can always get a little dose of REAL Baltimore drug trade news at Rebuilding Madison. Click on the Journal link.

But will the fake O'Malley become Mayor??

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Election Dealio

So this is what we've come up with for Election Day.

The Plan:

Vote EARLY!

THEN meet for BREAKFAST at Holy Frijoles. Does Frijoles have breakfast? No. But they WILL on Nov 2nd. They will open at 8AM and have Breakfast Burritos for the voting folk. AND, Happy Hour ALL DAY. Check out the Shank for the list of specials. Thank you Evan for getting into our Election Day spirit!

THEN, after the polls are closed we'll check the Election Day Coverage on the teevee over at the Hon Bar. They said we'd be welcome to watch their Comedy Central and they'll be concocting some drink specials as well.

And for Wednesday, the momentous day after, the Golden West will have 25% off EVERYTHING all day, if a certain person wins. And some drink specials as well.

Whew!

So get out and VOTE!

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Election Quandary

Several people in the hood had wanted to get together at Frazier's on the Avenue to watch the Election coverage...but it's Karaoke Night. Fuck that. People have to sing their ironic Depeche Mode this night of nights?

Where else can we all go? You don't want to be alone that night. Normally, the lack of tvs in bars and restaurants in Hampden is a GOOD THING. But we need cable, too.

Also, there may be a group voting party going on. For all you people voting at Robert Poole or Hampden Elementary, meet us for a drink if you're voting in the morning!

AND, if you get your "I Voted" sticker from the poll people (you have to ask) and wear it to the store Nov 2nd, you'll get a 10% discount on your purchases that day.

Radical Info Kiosk

Back in August, I mentioned the upcoming BMA exhibit called Dark Matter. Did you send your zine in for their library? It opens on Nov 3rd.

Also, they're going to have a booth/kiosk for distributing free zines and other info. If you'd like to send something in for that or to get more information about what they're doing, contact Todd Rennie, at trennieATmica.edu.


Monday, October 25, 2004

Sarah Vowell - Movie Star?

So, for a while now, we've been seeing stationery, cards, etc, for some characters called The Incredibles, a family of superheroes, in our book catalogs, wondering what that was about. Then we realized a few months ago that it was an upcoming movie from Pixar(infact it comes out next week).

Ok, but check this out, Sarah Vowell, one of our favorite essayists and radio personalities, is in the movie! She has the best IMDB profile.

Where's Maggie?


For the past 10 days, Maggie has been on tour with Double Dagger. Here's some pics on her Flickr account. More coming soon!

How We Are Hungry


It's Dave Eggers new collection of stories. Is this for real? It smells like strawberries!

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Freaks & Geeks

When you open a small independent store, in a lot of ways it's a form of personal expression.

We just like stocking the store with stuff we like, topics that interest us.

A lot of us tend to think that we're somewhat singular. Somewhat freakish.

Our tastes are all over the place. Who else is going to be into Jeffrey Brown, sideshow performers, Mark Ryden, The Believer, Anthony Bourdain, zines, both Haruki AND Takashi Murakami, serial killers, Tom Waits, exploitation films, knitting, bondage, hacking, outsider art, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, David AND Amy Sedaris, Ben Snakepit, Howard Zinn, AS WELL as the Dark Knight?

Who else? Our customers.

We are SO not alone.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Blogarrhea

Write your novel in 30 days on your blog!

Man, we really need to change our blog template. Everyone uses it.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Friday Blogabout - Diabetic Coma

Ok. I seriously have a problem with those goddamn cookies. I'm sitting here wondering why I'm feeling so weird and jittery.

The Avenue just isn't a good place for people with addiction issues. Those damn margaritas, and now it's these cookies...well, first it was the heroin and THEN...no wait, the smoking...no...books. Books are the worst. Luckily, I don't have a thing for beer.

Speaking of which...Natty Boh gets lit up. And a fine Boh collection.

And some pics of the protest at Sinclair this week.

And speaking of crimes (god, these lame segways I come up!)...don't forget the True Crime & Warped Minds Tour at Charm City Artspace on the 28th!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Zines for Teens

A call out for zines, from Miriam the Librarian:

Hey y'all-
A few of us librarians at Baltimore County Public
Library are looking to start a pilot zine library at
the Reisterstown library branch. At this point we have
approval to start making a collection geared towards
teen-agers. What I'm looking for is suggestions of
zines, magazines, and review sources that are of
interest to teens. High school per-zines, stuff for
non-schoolers or zines about a subject of general
interest (like Sugarneedle or various how-to
zines)might work.It doesn't have to be squeaky clean,
but it does have to have an identifiable reason it was
included as part of the collection. There's some
possibility we might do a broader collection later if
this works out. We're already in touch with some other
zine libraries and the yahoo zine librarian group and
there's going to be a query in the next Xerography
Debt. Later on we might have zine/comics-making
workshops at the library for teens or kids, and could
use some interested local helpers.If you have
experience,ideas or suggestions about this please
e-mail me, Miriam at mdesharn@bcpl.net Thanks!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

One Out of Every Two Phone Calls Is a Wrong Number

That's only a slight exaggeration.

For a while we got a lot of calls asking for Long & Foster Realtors. We only have a one number difference for one of their offices. Understandable. The rest? Freaks. I mean, do they not even listen to the message on the machine? You're calling Atomic Books!

Do people in Baltimore not know how to dial a goddamn number? Is it the proliferation of those disposeable cell phones or just that cell phones are getting so small people can't dial those teeny keypads?

On the machine this week:

"You're not my brother."

And

"Better have you ass up in the mornin' when I call ya!
Git you ass up!
I'm gonna call you again!
This is Theromin.
Talk with ya.
4 o'clock!"

GYWO2


David Rees will be here this Friday, the 22nd, at 7pm, to read from and sign copies of Get Your War On II! So, get your ass here!

Monday, October 18, 2004

Pig Queen


Hey, our friend, Nora, was crowned Pig Queen at the Pigtown Festival! She wore her tiara to Honcraft this Sunday, at Evergreen Cafe.

You can't really tell in the photo but she has little pig ears on the pink part of that tiara.

And yes, she's knitting. You know how we do.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

How Could I Forget the Pigs??

And yet I did.

Luckily, there are pictures of the Running of the Pigs from the Pigtown Festival today.

Hail!


For a few minutes today we had some sudden weather.

I hope the Marathon is over! Go Jules and Lisa!

Friday, October 15, 2004

Holy Crap, I Love Jon Stewart

On Air America right now, they're replaying a part of Stewart's appearance on CNN's Crossfire.

He was in DC this afternoon! Signing at Politics & Prose for America the Book.

UPDATE: Streaming audio! Thanks, Lori!

UPDATE 2: Video! Thanks, Jason!

MobyLives is Alive

Hey, MobyLives is back!

And their publishing arm Melville House has just come out with a new book by local writer, Stephen Dixon, called Old Friends. We should be getting those in shortly.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Banned!

Phoebe Gloeckner's A Child's Life is banned in some California Libraries.

Podesto described it as a "how-to book for pedophiles" and said it never should have fallen into a child's hands.

Wha?

Snickerdoodle Update


So I had some snickerdoodles leftover from Rose's that I got yesterday for Knit Night. Look how they fit on top of a coffee cup!

And now it's all steamed and soft. Cookie heaven. Vive le Carbs!

Viva Le Vice!

The Ave is getting to be a regular Book Row (hint, hint, Normal's are you reading this?)!

Breathe Books is opening up next week.

It's funny but in some ways, our bookstores are diametrically opposed. BB is all about health and we're pretty much about vice in it's many forms (People Who Read Too Much and the Bookstore Owners Who Love Them). Even our vegetarian/vegan books are more political in nature than about nutrition. But there are many paths to enlightenment...


Speaking of vice, the above article also mentions another new store opening on the Ave that's JUST HANDBAGS. Opening near the already tempting Ma Petite Shoe (the shoes AND chocolate store), Gotta Have Bags will be opening soon with an array of designer, handmade and otherwise unique bags.

Also, more vice: Rose's Cookies and Mick's new Whiskey Island Pirate Shop are now open in the old Golden West Cafe space. Rose's cookies kick ass. And of course Mick's salsas and sauces...he's a pirate for chrissakes! You can't go wrong.


Still on my wishlist:
1. Another coffeeshop that stays open LATE!
2. A 24 hour diner
3. A burlesque theater? (ok, that was just a rumor I heard)

Monday, October 11, 2004

Weirdness


It's been a strange few days around here on the Ave. Stranger than normal.

Around 2pm, the whole Ave lost power.

But oddly, not the Golden West Cafe. So we all went across the street to get some food and have a beer while we waited for the electricity to come back.


When we got back to the store around 3:30pm, the power was back.

And then Major "Bunny" Colvin walked in! He was nice enough to pose with Baby Doll.

Over the weekend, a guy threw his girlfriend through one of Golden West Cafe's windows.

It's the second weekend in a row that a fight in the street has caused damage to a shop (though not any serious damage to any person). True Vine still has a window out.

Maybe Colvin needs to make Hampden Amsterdam. And then nail everyone's ass.

(Sorry, this post will only make sense if you watch The Wire.)

Sunday, October 10, 2004

If ORZ and TMBG Got Into a Fight...


One Ring Zero kicked accordian, claviola and theremin ass. Have you ever seen a claviola before? Wish I had one!

Alas, only 50 were ever made and only 14 came over to the US and ORZ got 4 of them. They said that they were going to hunt down the other 10. And kill them.


We're having some technical difficulties so comments have been turned off temporarily.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Smart Invoicing


Ok, yes, sometimes invoices get lost in the shuffle of our huge mounds of papers, but this is by far the largest invoice we've ever received. Surely, we won't lose it. But we will try.

Friday Blogabout


It's that time of year again. It's all about the ravens. I mean, Halloween.

Hey, Kathleen has started updating the Shocked & Amazed blog again!

Wow, can I really only blog one pic at a time from Flickr? Damn.

It's My Birthday and I'll Blog If I Want To


This is what 35 looks like. Well, that's what infrared looks like. I look like I'm blind.

35. 35. 35. 35. 35. It just sounds so wrong, but it feels alright.

Tomorrow night is our One Ring Zero event, 7-9pm, here at the store. If you like wacky music set to lyrics written specifically for wacky music by authors like Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Lethem, Margaret Atwood, etc...then you should come out. Also, we'll go down to Frijoles for birthday drinks afterwards.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Girls Gone Comics!


Lauren McCubbin and Michelle Tea were here this past Sunday for a slide show/reading for Rent Girl, all our copies of which are now signed.

Lauren has a new comic coming out in November with Warren Ellis(!!) called Quit City.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Art!


Alvin Buenaventura stopped by to drop off some of his unbelieveable prints!
We have them here at the store now!
Clowes, Doucet, Panter, Rege, Salazar and more! Sorry, the Chris Ware is sold out.

What a Weekend


We went to SPX and all we got was this lousy photo.

Hell, that ain't true! We got a shitload of stuff like that there on that plate. No, we didn't eat them. Well, maybe a nibble here and there.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Retail Therapy

If you're like me, and have served some time in retail establishments or in customer service, I think you'd have thought this comic strip should have won something more than Honorable Mention.

That one wasn't the funniest example.

I used to work at a photo lab. When you work with the general public there's an incredible amount of shit you have to put up with. That you're expected to put up with. You won't believe this, but did you know that there's a saying: the customer is always right? Isn't that strange?

I remember the time a woman who hadn't read the details on photo Xmas cards (which had been printed in LARGE TYPE right on the form) and was demanding her money back, which basically meant we had to eat it because of her mistake. I told her, "It's not my fault that you can't read."

Ok, I should have been fired for that.

But what about the guy who pulled out his film from his camera, and I mean pulled the actual film out of the cartridge and EXPOSED it to light, handed me the mess and told me he wanted it in an hour. He wouldn't believe that his film was ruined. Well, you know, I only worked there. Why would I know something about photography that he didn't?


Whew. I'm telling you that strip is funny!

Reader Request

Starting next Friday, we'll start doing the Friday Fun thing (yeah we're on the blogster bandwagon, what the hey). Email me for a photo of something in the store you'd like to see, and we'll post the requests on Friday Blogabouts.

Want to see new zines? our Waters' Xmas cards? junkies? hipsters pretending like they buy books?

Friday, October 01, 2004

Friday Blogabout - The Creep

Are you creepy?

This is definitely creepy.

Kids Today

Overheard from Benn's library lecture today, at the Essex Library:

Benn: Why do you like manga so much?
12 year old girl: We don't like American comics.
Benn: Why?
12 year old girl: Because they wear tights. That's weird.