Last Friday

Today is my last Friday at my job. Next week I work Monday and Tuesday and then I am a free bird…and this bird you cannot change…..fly–iiiiiiii freeee bird! 

Anyhoo… they had a party for me yesterday. I’ve blogged about t his previously, about how initially I wasn’t that hot on the idea but in the end I decided to acquiesce and allow it. It wasn’t so bad. There was pink punch and a card and a gift basket. There was a cake too. It had the Space Shuttle on it, because the party theme was that they were “launching” me off into the next phase of my life. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeee. I did find it a tad ironic, however, considering that the government recently decided to cancel the space shuttle program. I pointed this out to much laughter, and of course it lead to a discussion of the two space shuttle explosions. Apparently, recently parts from the second space shuttle disaster were found in a lake in Texas. The lake’s water level had receded considerably, revealing the shuttle parts. I’m not sure what that has to do with anything. It’s just what happened.

Well, I should probably clean out my files and pack up my photographs and personal items today, so I don’t have that sad task to perform on my last day here.

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Of books and jobs

Last night I was at the local Borders for a reading by Megan Abbott from her new novel, The End of Everything. It was an excellent turn-out, filling up all the allotted seats, leaving standing room only. I was happy to stand, eager to hear Megan read — she always does a fine job.

With the closing of Borders this reading may well be one of the last at this particular store. It’s sad. I’ve been hanging out at Borders bookstores since I lived in Ypsilanti, where I attended school at Eastern Michigan University, back in the lat 80s and early 90s. Back then there was just the one store in downtown Ann Arbor, and now it is going to close, leaving a big gap there. I’m not sure what bookstores are left in Ann Arbor. I heard that the small independent bookstore, Shaman Drum, was forced out of business, by Borders ironically (I think that’s ironic anyway…).

Also, I’ve heard that Barnes and Noble is not doing all that well either. Will they last? And if they don’t, what then? Will small independent stores fill in the gaps, or will all bookstores fall by the wayside, leaving only online bookstores such as Amazon.com. Where will authors give readings then? How will this effect publishing?

Of course, there’s also the impact on unemployment. The closing of Borders means the loss of thousands of jobs. And on another jobs-related note, NASA’s space shuttle program ended today with the final landing of the last shuttle, resulting in a loss of thousands of jobs as well.

This morning on the radio, on my way into work, after dropping my daughter off at her grandparents’ for the day, I heard reported that Michigan’s unemployment numbers inched up to 10.5% which is well above the national average of 9.2%.