Reading, Writing & Other Addictions

Facing Reality Through Fiction

I’m Starving!

The Friday before a three-day weekend tends to be a day a lot of people take off, but in my company, if you work the Friday before a three-day weekend, the company will sometimes spring for a pizza lunch.  They haven’t done so the last two holidays, so when I got the email about the pizza and salad that would be arriving at 1pm, I thought “YES!  I can grab some salad and save a little money.”  (I am no longer eating pizza.) Plus, I had been eating the same salad for the past three out of four days, so a little change would be good.

The pizza arrives. I hear others in my department passing my office to head to the reception area. I get up and walk around my desk, pizza…salad on the brain.

The phone buzzes and I hear a voice “Julie?  You there?”

Technically.  “Yes.”

“Can you help me out, and print some more of the 11″ X 17″ signs for the book signing tonight?”

I am the Traffic Manager for Half Price Books.  My job is to make sure vendors, stores, distribution centers and my team have what they need to do their jobs–as well as tell them by when they need to have it done.

I walk back around my desk and pull up the signs.  The person on the phone is still talking about why she needs the signs, but I’ve stopped listening.  There is pizza…salad down the hall waiting for me.  She has taken a breath, so I say, “Give me a couple of minutes and I’ll have them ready for you to pick up.”

I set up the file and can’t for the life of me remember how many signs she said she wanted.  I put a number in the quantity field and hit print.  I go to the printer to pick up the signs.  The cubicles and other offices around mine are empty. Everyone is down the hall, stuffing their face with free pizza.

The sign printed out the wrong size!  I stand there holding only a  1/4 of the sign.  I remember changing the page from letter to tabloid, but we got a new printer last month and when we first got it, no one could print anything other than 8/5″ X 11″. We threw several fits until it was solved.

I walked back to my computer and tried to print again.  Again, the same problem.  For the third time, I check all my settings.  Everything looks right, boxes all ticked, all info entered.  What is the problem?

I email the IT Dept. “If you have parked under the balcony, you may want to move your car because the new printer is about to have an accident.”

Person stops by my office to pick up signs. “Sorry. I’m having printer problems.  I can’t print the sign.”

“Oh, okay. Well, I can. Can you just email me the file?”

And you didn’t ask this in the first place, because…”Sure.”

I email her the file. Then start toward the reception area.  At least, I will be rewarded with pizza…salad.

I can see the boxes.  I can smell the cheese.  My stomach grumbles.

“Julie!”

A member of the IT Dept. is walking straight towards me, pointing. She walks right by me saying, “Let’s fix your printer problem.”

But the pizza…salad.

I follow her to my office.  She checks all my settings, has me input my password, reinstalls the drivers, blames the problem on the Art Dept. and their penchants for Macs, and hits print.  The paper comes out the right size.  YEA!

She wants to check it again.  Again, it’s the same.  She deletes the other printer drivers so that my computer won’t be confused, and says I shouldn’t have this problem again, but if I do…

She leaves.  It’s after 2pm.  I’m starving.  I reach reception.  People are still getting pizza, and it smells so good.  But I can’t have any pizza.  I’m on a diet.  I reach the end of the table to find an empty pan.

“Is there any more salad?”

“Nope.”

I give the receptionist my biggest puppy dog eyes, as though she could wave her new Ballerina Barbie and more salad would appear.

She shrugs.  “You should have gotten here sooner.”

 

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Book Review: The Finisher, by David Baldacci

 

I know I’m coming late to the game on this one, but I just finished reading it last week, and I can’t get it out of my mind (and I’ve read two and a half books since I finished).

Last year, David Baldacci came to my Half Price Books store in Dallas, TX, and I had the privilege of working the event.  Now, for those of  you who don’t know who David Baldacci is: He is New York Times (NYT) Bestselling suspense novelist responsible for the John Puller series, the King and Maxwell series and the Camel Club series.  However, the book he was promoting at Half Price Books was a new Science Fiction Young Adult novel.  That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, The adult suspense novelist has penned a Young Adult SciFi novel, and it is amazing!  I was a little reluctant to read it at first.  I thought what does David Baldacci know about SciFi. After reading it, I can tell you, the man is not only a spectacular storyteller but also a closet geek!

The Finisher follows Vega Jane, a fourteen-year-old “female,” who is struggling  to make ends meet and take care of her little brother after her parents end up in the Care facility. Then, when she sees her friend and mentor Quentin Herms disappear into the Quag, a place no one should ever go, Vega starts to wonder if there could be a way through the Quag and a life for her outside of her village. As she begins to investigate why her friend would have disappeared in the Quag and why the Council is lying about Quentin’s disappearance,  strange, mystical, magical things start happening to Vega. As enemies and allies begin to emerge, Vega must fight for her life in both the magical world she has been thrust into and the physical world she has always known.  This book keeps you guessing until the last page, so that when you put the book down, you want to immediately pick up the next book, (which was released last fall) The Keeper.

I will admit the book threw me off a couple of times as I adjusted to the way his characters talked (e.g. sliver is a unit of time, like a minute), but the more I read the more I was sucked in, and I ended up comparing the book to Tolkien’s works and the television series Firefly in regards to its use of language.

My admiration for Mr.Baldaccci continues to grow with every one of his books I read. If you like SciFi, this is a book you need to read.  Also, if you get a chance to meet David Baldacci, you should.  He is nice to all his fans, and he tells the funniest stories.

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