Monday, October 31

Buddhist Thought of the Day

Desires achieved increase thirst like salt water.
Milarepa, "Drinking the Mountain Stream"

Sunday, October 30

Buddhist Thought of the Day

It is necessary to cultivate some discipline of mind, for an undisciplined mind always finds excuses to act selfishly and thoughtlessly. When the mind is undisciplined, the body is also undisciplined, and so is speech and action.
Anguttara Nikaya

Friday, October 28

Good Luck

Good luck to Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Nashville.

Tomrrow is their grand re-opening!

The store looks great and the customers will love it.

Buddhist Thought of the Day

Detach from all mental objects, stop all thoughts: do not let either good or bad thoughts enter your thinking, do not keep either Buddhist teachings or worldly phenomena in mind.

Thursday, October 27

Confessions of a Reformed Bookseller

Now that I have been a bookseller for one month I think it's appropriate for me to include myself in this tradition.

The article below showed me that book retail is different from other types of retail. I thought Davis-Kidd was odd in the way it handles customer service but now I see that it is bookselling in general that is different that music retail or the other retail environs I've worked.

NOW! If there are any people with library/archive contacts (especially in Nashville) I need a library job!
Confessions of a Reformed Bookseller: What Working in a Bookstore Taught Me About Being a Librarian
by Jennifer Arnold

They say that everyone loves a parade, but it's probably more likely that everyone loves a great bookstore. After all, it is hard to resist, with its overstuffed armchairs, the smell of fresh-roasted coffee, and, of course, the rows and rows of books - just waiting to be read! It's pretty safe to say that librarians tend to enjoy bookstores due to all these same factors, but we should look to bookstores for other reasons as well: they have a lot to teach us as librarians. Before I started library school, I spent two years working in a large retail bookstore (one of the superstore variety). Much of what I learned as a bookseller I still carry with me as a librarian. Here is just some of what I brought with me.

Customer Service: Lessons from the Sales Floor

In bookstore employee training, tips and techniques for outstanding customer service were emphasized much more than they were in library school. Perhaps that's as it should be, but libraries still have a lot to learn from the customer service standards of retail bookstores, which typically hold their employees to stringent standards. Here's what I learned:

Put the book in the customer's hand.

Bookstores teach their employees never merely to point the customer in the right direction, but rather to walk the customer to the appropriate section of the store, find the book on the shelf, and put in his or her hands. In my library, I rarely hand a student a call number and send them off to find the book on the shelf. Instead, I put the book in the student's hands. I've found that they are much more likely to use the book or check it out if I hand it to them.

Customer service is everyone's responsibility, all of the time.

At the bookstore, all phone calls had to be answered by the third ring. If you were not with a customer at the moment the phone rang, then it was your responsibility to answer the phone, whether you were the general manager or the newest bookseller. The employees who worked in receiving (and basically never interacted with customers on the sales floor) were also responsible for responding to phone calls. In other words, assisting patrons should be everyone's priority, all of the time.

Customer service standards should be in writing.

Bookstores hold their employees to high standards, and each employee is given a copy of those standards in writing. Here, bookstores have a lesson to teach libraries. If you expect great customer service from your library staff, provide them with clear expectations in writing, not just as part of a job description or employee development plan. Expectations for customer service standards should be outlined in a separate, public document, so that everyone has a common understanding.

Displays, Displays, and More Displays: Marketing like a Retailer

If there's one thing bookstores know, it's how to market their products. No matter where you turn in a bookstore, most customers will find themselves faced with a display of some sort - at the front of the store, through the main aisles, at the end of each row. Why so many displays? One simple reason: they sell books. Of course, most libraries do display their latest arrivals or create themed displays for events. Bookstores, however, take every possible opportunity to make customers aware of their merchandise.

For example, every three or four rows, customers are likely to see a title "faced-out," meaning that the cover of the book is facing outward, rather than the spine. Little touches like this can really encourage people to pick up a book. Academic libraries might also consider the ways in which book jackets appeal to customers. In many academic libraries, book jackets are removed, leaving a plain blue or brown book with just the title and call number on the spine. While it does involve some expense, leaving the cover on the book - with the summary of the contents, reviewer's quotes, etc. - just might inspire a patron to check out that title, in a way that a plain blue cover never will.

The Comfy Chair Factor: Creating a Welcoming Environment

People tend to linger in bookstores, spending time perusing multiple titles in a comfortable chair or reading a magazine over a snack from the cafe. Bookstores have been successful at creating an atmosphere that encourages customers to spend time in the store, and not just run in and out for a single item. Many libraries have already begun learning from retail bookstores' successful creation of a welcoming environment by including cafes in new or redesigned buildings and in creating comfortable seating arrangements that encourage patrons to linger, just as they do in bookstores. This is a trend that libraries should continue to follow - the more comfortable patrons become, they more likely they are to ask questions and use resources. Some comfy armchairs, a couch or two, and a more flexible food and drink policy could go a long way in creating a more welcoming environment.

Confessions of a Reformed Bookseller: Advice from the Stacks

In many ways, I'm as much a reformed bookseller as I am a librarian. It's hard to take the bookseller out of me, and, I'll confess, I've been known to straighten the merchandise when I visit a bookstore as a customer. I have to say, though, that I wouldn't WANT to take the bookseller out of me - retail is a great training ground for developing just the skills necessary for working as a public service librarian. My advice to former retailers: remember what you learned. I'm a firm believer that if you've handled a weekend during the holiday season in any retail establishment, then you can handle just about anything. The customer service, marketing, and sense of bookstore/library as a place that were ingrained in me as a bookseller have served me well as a librarian.
Jennifer Arnold is the Senior Librarian for Serials and Electronic Resources at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC. She admits to occasionally straightening the shelves in her local bookstore, even though she's no longer a bookseller.
Reprinted w/o permission from:
Info Career Trends - vol. 6, no. 6
November 1, 2005
Published by

Buddhist Thought of the Day

I alone will practice all that is wholesome. Those who are powerless and under the control of karma and delusion are unable to benefit themselves or attain their own purposes. Worldly people are completely unable to make their lives meaningful. Therefore, I shall practice what is wholesome for the benefit of all sentient beings. While others are engaged in inferior and menial tasks in which they encounter many difficulties, how can I sit here at peace and do nothing? I must and shall benefit them, but without ever succumbing to the poison of self-importance.
Santideva, "Bodhicaryavatara"

Sunday, October 23

Camping in Tennessee

Sunset at 7 Acres Campsite
Originally uploaded by bmitd67.

Tara and I took LJ & Yhazmyn on a camping trip with Mike and Chad. It ended up being more of a cookout b/c we ALL left before bed. Mike set up his tent but decided not to sleep out...

This is a very nice campground near Percy Priest Lake.

And is it just me or is there something wrong with campers who have ELECTRIC Jack-o-laterns and strung lights around their campsite?

Saturday, October 22

Buddhist Thought of the Day

Drinking the nourishment,
the flavor,
of seclusion & calm,
one is freed from evil, devoid
of distress,
refreshed with the nourishment
of rapture in the Dhamma.
Dhammapada, 16, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Friday, October 21

One of my high school classmates

Laura was a high school classmate. We didn't have too many classes together...she was one of the smart, most likely to suceed, student gov't types. I was a non-descript, fair-to-middlin student. She's done really well with her traditionalist, rootsy country; and eventhough she's a Nashvillian, she's a musical outsider and that makes her thing a little cooler.

Laura Cantrell's Humming by the Flowered Vine

"Mouth of babes" comment validated

Remember a couple of days ago I mentioned that a neighborhood kid said his apartment complex was fun if you liked people fighting and shooting.

Well now we know what he's talking about.

Two men arrested in E. Nashville shooting death

Buddhist Thought of the Day

By charity, goodness, restraint, and self-control men and woman alike can store up a well-hidden treasure -- a treasure which cannot be given to others and which robbers cannot steal. A wise person should do good -- that is the treasure which will not leave one.
"Khuddhaka Patha"

Assuming Privilege

When do you decide that you have attained such a station in life that you can assume others are inferior? That's not worded well but that is the basic idea of what I'm asking.

When do you know that you have the right and true way of doing things or being someone?

I've already mentioned that I am working at a bookstore; a very cool, a very liberal bookstore. What I didn't mention - for those who don't live in Nashville - is that this bookstore is in a upper middle-class, upper class part of Nashville. Some of these folks have some serious M-O-N-E-Y.

Some of the patrons come in with this attitude. They do things to the cashiers and the rest of the booksellers that you just don't do to people you respect. For example, it's not uncommon for them to grab a Tennessean or a NYT from the doorway and come to the counter, toss (literally) the buck fifty or whatever on the counter, yell out what its for and turn around to go back out the door.

Now, I've worked enough retail to know that it's not just in this high dollar neighborhood where people act this way but there is a certain arrogance that these people have that seems to be more the property of the rich than others. Also, is that I can almost guarantee that most of these people were raised with that good old Southern value system of respect, courtesy and honor.

What started this thought was something completely different. We were talking about people who assume the moral high ground in politics. When people who aren't in power are convinced that the people who are in power are morally wrong. That the powerful won't see the error of their ways without total destruction. This dogmatic belief in their POV that the other side is wrong and there is no middle ground.

Don't get me wrong, I can get on a soapbox too, but I usually come down from it pretty quickly. I am talking about the people who stay there, the people who refuse to hear the reasons and justifications behind the actions of the "other side".

I am a strong believer that every situation has two sides and the "right path" (to borrow from the Buddha) is the "middle way" (to continue the Buddhist metaphor). We have to recognize that, as one of my coworkers said: "We all come to the table fucked up." The quicker we recognize that the quicker we can get past that.

Now, I am down from my high horse.

Thursday, October 20

"Underdog films" that audiences love but the major Hollywood studios avoid

Netflix for the socially conscious.


Buddhist Thought of the Day

Greed, I say, is a great flood; it is a whirlpool sucking one down, a constant yearning, seeking a hold, continually in movement; difficult to cross is the morass of sensual desire. A sage does not deviate from truth, a brahmana stands on firm ground; renouncing all, he is truly called 'calmed.'
Sutta Nipata

MLS Playoff sched

United vs. Fire
Game 1: Friday, 9 p.m. at Chicago
Game 2: Sunday, Oct. 30, 4:30 p.m. at Washington
Series Tied, 0-0

MetroStars vs. Revolution
Game 1: Saturday, 7 p.m. at MetroStars
Game 2: Saturday, Oct. 29, 8 p.m. at New England
Series Tied, 0-0

FC Dallas vs. Rapids
Game 1: Saturday, 9 p.m. at Colorado
Game 2: Saturday, Oct. 29, 8:30 p.m. at New England
Series Tied, 0-0

Earthquakes vs. Galaxy
Game 1: Sunday, 3 p.m. at Los Angeles
Game 2: Saturday, Oct. 29, 10 p.m. at San Jose
Series Tied, 0-0

Freddie speaks out and gets sternly counterpointed

Adu Attempts to Clear the Air

I can only imagine what this kid is thinking but somebody needs to tell him to slow down. 16 of 25 starts, I don't think that's bad for a 2nd year player. Granted, Freddie is not your avg 2nd year player but I think that's pretty good.

MLS Salaries

Do these look like the salaries of pro atheletes...some of these guys (Eddie Pope, Tony Sannah) have been in and around the MLS since it began!

Landon Donovan Los Angeles 900,000
Eddie Johnson FC Dallas 875,000
Freddy Adu D.C. 300,000
Ramon Ramirez Chivas USA 425,000
Josh Wolff Kansas City 350,000
Clint Mathis Salt Lake City 270,000
Eddie Pope Salt Lake City 314,782
Tony Sanneh Chicago 285,000
Chris Armas Chicago 250,000
Jovan Kirovski Los Angeles 175,000

Wednesday, October 19

Buddhist Thought of the Day

When tranquility is developed, what purpose does it serve? The mind is developed. And when the mind is developed, what purpose does it serve? Passion is abandoned.

When insight is developed, what purpose does it serve? Discernment is developed. And when discernment is developed, what purpose does it serve? Ignorance is abandoned.
Anguttara Nikaya

Monday, October 17

Lesson of the Day

Floss Properly.

Today, after 2 months of pretty intense dental cleaning, my dentist has referred me to a periodondist. (How sad)

I was never taught how to floss and it was never pressed upon me as a necessity, now as a 38 year old, I have to get some intense treatment.

PS: I apparently grind my teeth...

Outlook Sucks!

My outlook has decided to freak out on me today. Everything I update causes it to crash.

Buddhist Thought of the Day

If we divide into two camps--even into violent and the nonviolent--and stand in one camp while attacking the other, the world will never have peace. We will always blame and condemn those we feel are responsible for wars and social injustice, without recognizing the degree of violence within ourselves. We must work on ourselves and also with those we condemn if we want to have a real impact.
Ayya Khema, "Be An Island"

Sunday, October 16

Old Firehall

Old Firehall
Originally uploaded by bmitd67.

Old School Firehall in my neighbor hood. There is a Wal-Mart "neighborhood" store next to it, I'm surprised they didn't tear this bldg down.

Saturday, October 15

Tascam HD-P2 High-Def Flash Recorder: DAT's All, Folks

I've been a DAT Taper for a long time and I knew I'd made the big time when I could get a DAP-1...this puppy is definitely the nail in the coffin of that level of sophistication.
Posted by Picasa
Tascam HD-P2 High-Def Flash Recorder: DAT's All, Folks -

Buddhist Thought of the Day

From striving comes wisdom;
from not, wisdom's end.
Knowing these two courses
--to development decline--
conduct yourself
so that wisdom will grow.
Dhammapada, 20, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Friday, October 14

Blatter says deducting points cannot work

"When such a situation is in a stadium, stop the game, identify the people. You kick them out of the stadium and they never come back. But this is not enough. It is only when you touch a club or a national federation by deducting points."
But Blatter said that couldn't apply at the World Cup because fans might use that punishment as a way of affecting results.

Thursday, October 13

FIFA names shortlist for World Player of the Year

Seven Brazilians make FIFA Player of the Year shortlist

Thirty men in contention

  • Adriano Brazil
  • Michael Ballack Germany
  • David Beckham England
  • Gianluigi Buffon Italy
  • Cafú Brazil
  • Ronaldo Cristiano Portugal
  • Deco Portugal
  • Didier Drogba Côte d'Ivoire
  • Michael Essien Ghana
  • Samuel Eto'o Cameroon
  • Steven Gerrard England
  • Thierry Henry France
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic Sweden
  • Kaká Brazil
  • Frank Lampard England
  • Paolo Maldini Italy
  • Pavel Nedved Czech Republic
  • Alessandro Nesta Italy
  • Jay-Jay Okocha Nigeria
  • Raúl Spain
  • Juan Román Riquelme Argentina
  • Arjen Robben Netherlands
  • Roberto Carlos Brazil
  • Robinho Brazil
  • Ronaldinho Brazil
  • Ronaldo Brazil
  • Wayne Rooney England
  • Andriy Shevchenko Ukraine
  • Ruud van Nistelrooy Netherlands
  • Zinedine Zidane France

Now this is interesting.

ALA Council passes resolution on connection between Iraq War, libraries.

Everybody wants a piece of the pie. Not that this is a bad thing I just think it's a bit off course.

Buddhist Thought of the Day

For one who is in the habit of constantly honoring and respecting the elders, four blessings increase—age, beauty, bliss, and strength.
Dhammapada 109

Wednesday, October 12

Ahhh, Sewanee.

"Lost Boys" of Sudan are in the 9 percent of nonwhite students among 1,383 undergraduates on the remote, scenic campus.

From the mouths of babes

I live near an apartment complex (Section 8) and I overheard to 13 year old boys talking, one (Michael) lives in the apartment complex, the other (Justin) lives in a 1930s brick home.

Justin asked Michael if it was fun living in these apartments. Michael responded:
If you like people fighting and shooting at each other, yeah.

Buddhist Thought of the Day

If your mind becomes firm like a rock
And no longer shakes
In a world where everything is shaking,
Your mind will be your greatest friend
And suffering will not come your way.

Monday, October 10

Paul "Wine" Jones 7/1/46-10/9/05

Paul "Wine" Jones who liked beer better (but it didn't sound as good) has died.

I always liked Paul.

This has been a bad Fall for Fat Possum...a bad Fall for the Blues!

25 Words That Can Hurt Your Résumé

Career Advice Article

# Aggressive
# Ambitious
# Competent
# Creative
# Detail-oriented
# Determined
# Efficient
# Experienced
# Flexible
# Goal-oriented
# Hard-working
# Independent
# Innovative
# Knowledgeable
# Logical
# Motivated
# Meticulous
# People person
# Professional
# Reliable
# Resourceful
# Self-motivated
# Successful
# Team player
# Well-organized

Sewanee Fog

Sewanee Fog
Originally uploaded by bmitd67.

A Gothic Cathedral smothered by fog in the middle of Tennessee...

That would be All Saints' Chapel on the campus of the University of the alma mater.

This is one of a few photos I took while on the Mountain this past weekend for the first "Alumni of Color Reunion".

Buddhist Thought of the Day

Everything is as it is. It has no name other than the name we give it. It is we who call it something; we give it a value. We say this thing is good or it's bad, but in itself, the thing is only as it is. It's not absolute; it's just as it is. People are just as they are.
Ajahn Sumedho, "The Mind and the Way"

Sunday, October 9

DePauw thumps Sewanee

Sewanee may be right but the football team has had problems for a long time.

DePauw 34, Sewanee 0

the Winner: DePauw
the Loser: Sewanee

Buddhist Thought of the Day

If you keep thinking "That man has abused me," holding it as a much-cherished grievance, your anger will never be allayed. If you can put down that fury-inducing thought, your anger will lessen. Fury will never end fury, it will just ricochet on and on. Only putting it down will end such an abysmal state.
Sunnata Vagga

10 Foods You Should NEVER Eat!

Center for Science in the Public Interest

Saturday, October 8

Buddhist Thought of the Day

One who wouldn't-- not for his own sake nor that of another-- hanker for
a son,
a kingdom,
his own fulfillment,
by unrighteous means:
he is righteous, rich in virtue, discernment.
Dhammapada, 6, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Friday, October 7

Yea! Sewanee's Right.

It's Fall Party Weekend and for the first time since 1990 I am going back to Sewanee for the events.

I've always skipped b/c most of my friends from college live far away and don't come back. I am going b/c of the first Alumni of Color events. I am proud to be a Sewanee alumnus and I like to support what I think is important. Sewanee provides an education that is in many ways unique and I hope that more and more minorities will come to realize the benefits of a place like the University of the South

Schedule of Events

Thursday, October 6

"I've grown up at Utd"


Crazy Boy Wonder
I feel I have matured, on and off the field and hopefully that will continue because I am trying to cut out silly bookings for dissent
Rooney told Four Four Two

Buddhist Thought of the Day

Because it lacks consciousness, I must admit that a word cannot praise me. Undoubtedly, the cause of my delight is that another is delighted with me.

But what does it matter to me whether another's delight is in me or someone else? His alone is the pleasure of that delight. Not even a trifling part of it is mine.
Santideva, "Bodhicaryavatara"

Go See Al! |
No matter your musical taste this is an artist any fan of stories and songs and creative energy should check out.

Wednesday, October 5

Time Wasters

Video Games...I discovered video games about 3 years ago. I fell in love with RTS (Real Time Strategy) games, Age of Empires being my first love; then, soccer games and finally shooters but only a select few... like Brothers in Arms, Far Cry (I haven't finished this b/c it creeps me out!) and Call of Duty. My favorite game other than these is Splinter Cell. The espionage and the fact that you try to make it through the game without killing or being seen, not to mention Sam Fisher's (main character) smart-ass attitude

Now is the time for new games...Brothers in Arms v2.0 and FIFA 06 came out this week. We should see Call of Duty 2 by the end of the month, Winning Eleven 9 (great team management stuff) by the end of the year and a new Splinter Cell in the Spring. Oh, and a new Lord of the Rings strategy and a new Age of Empires (I don't really like what I've seen on this one).

Time wasters. Each and every one of them, just plain ol time wasters.

Buddhist Thought of the Day

Jatukkani asked:
Like the sun which controls the world with its heat and light, you, Master, seem to control desire and pleasure. I have only a little understanding. How can I find and know the way to give up this world of birth and aging?
The Buddha answered:
Lose your greed for pleasure. See how letting go of the world brings deep tranquility. There is nothing you need hold on to and nothing you need push away. Live in the present but do not cling to it and then you can go from place to place in peace. There is a state of greed that enters and dominates the individual. But when that greed has gone, it is like poison leaving a body and death will have no more terror for you.

Monday, October 3

Got to go to Hell before you get to Heaven

RIP Paul Pena

Paul Pena has died. This is sad. If you've never heard "Gonna Move" you don't know what a good song is. Oh wait, you don't think you know who Paul is well you've heard a little song called "Jet Airliner", a big hit for the Steve Miller, right? Yeah, Paul wrote that.

Have you ever heard of Tuvan throat singing? Well, you need to and you need to see this doc Paul did called Ghengis Blues.

Paul went to hell:
During the past 8 years, Paul's health has been on the decline and his quality of life was greatly diminished by the nearly constant state of pain that he was in. We can take comfort in knowing that he's no longer suffering.
...and now he's surely in Heaven.

Ten Signs of a Conscious Marriage

Ten Signs of a Conscious Marriage

"What are some of the differences when you become conscious? The following list highlights some of the essential differences in attitude and behavior:
  • You realize that your love relationship has a hidden purpose—the healing of childhood wounds.

  • You create a more accurate image of your partner.

  • You take responsibility for communicating your needs and desires to your partner.

  • You become more intentional in your interactions.

  • You learn to value your partner’s needs and wishes as highly as you value your own.

  • You embrace the dark side of your personality.

  • You learn new techniques to satisfy your basic needs and desires.

  • You search within yourself for the strengths and abilities you are lacking.

  • You become more aware of your drive to be loving and whole and united with the universe.

  • You accept the difficulty of creating a good marriage.
See also Getting the Love You Want: A Guide For Couples by Harville Hendrix

Buddhist thought of the Day

By renouncing samsara, we renounce our habitual grasping, unhappy minds. And by renouncing samsara, we embrace our potential for enlightenment.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche, "Transforming Problems Into Happiness"

August Wilson Dies

"most complete cultural chronicle since Balzac"
His plays were big, often sprawling and poetic, dealing primarily with the effects of slavery on succeeding generations of black Americans

Sunday, October 2

More about work.

I've spent about 20 years in various retail/customer service positions. I delivered pizza, I was an assistant at a vet clinic, I rented paddle boats and, of course, I worked in record and video stores and I have to say that Davis-Kidd has the smartest, oldest and most stable staff I have ever seen. There are about 50 employees. I think I've chatted with a dozen and of those at least half are working on or have a Master's level degree. The GM says the store has a 7% turnover rate, which is insanly low, and I don't think there is a teenager in the bunch. There are at least 3 people who have started a 2nd career with Davis-Kidd (after 20+ years in another field).

So far, not a day has gone by that I was not surprised and impressed by one of my coworkers.

Aside from all that you are part of a team and within that you have the responsibility and opportunity to affect change. I was appropriately assigned to the Humanities team (the others are Health/Well-being, Fiction, Kids, Religion & Spirituality & Sidelines, which is non-book stuff...I think that's right, remember, I'm still new). I am responsible for organizing and maintaining but I can create endcaps, feature sections, tie-in sections, etc.

There's quite a bit in the learning curve but this is surprisingly more exciting than I expected it would be. I can already tell I'm gonna hate to tell these folks goodbye...whenever that happens.

Saturday, October 1

Jai's New day job

Since the library doesn't want to call me back I took a job at Davis-Kidd Booksellers.

And I have to tell you, I've spent alot of time in retail and these guys have the most unique and creative approach I have ever witnessed. At the end of my first's a great place to be.

James Brown was a funk minimalist

Charlie Hunter