Peddling Eighth Day books and culture in Austin, TX

Feast of the Procession of the Precious Cross and of the Holy Seven Maccabee Children, Solomone Their Mother, and Eleazar Their Teacher

Circe_Square.jpegLAST WEEKEND, while peddling books in Austin, TX at the Circe Conference, I wrote a news post about that trip. Here’s an excerpt:

As usual, set up was a grueling process yesterday (and well into this morning). I've been keeping a chronological record of this trip, which I'll share on the Director's Desk next week to give you a glimpse into what a weekend road trip of peddling is like. I don't know how Warren Farha has done these gigs for so many years...when you see the chronology, you'll have a better idea (although a mere written account does no justice to the physical exertion required to load van - my eldest son Caleb had this privilege this trip - travel, unload van, transport 30-40 boxes of books to vendor site, unpack and sort books, display books, peddle for 2-3 days, tear down, re-load van, travel, and unload van into bookstore - thank God for Caleb...he'll have this privilege again upon return, as he has on many other trips - not to mention all the work involved in ordering, selecting, and packing the books Warren does before each trip).

So, as promised, here’s the chronological record:

Feast of the Holy Martyrs Paul, Thea & Valentine
Anno Domini 2017
Tuesday, July 18
3:35 PM         Depart Fast Print in Wichita, KS and head toward I-35 S with new Inklings Octoberfest flyers.

3:47 PM         On the KS Turnpike and, for me, the Road of Silence. This is one of my favorite parts of these trips. I’m on the road in what Max Picard calls a World of Silence. And I love it. No music. No news. No text messages. No phone calls. No social media. No internet. No TV. Nothing but me and the open road and silence.

12:00 AM       Arrive at hotel downtown Austin at exactly 12:00 AM.

1:00 AM         I am in the “Live Music Capital of the World” and I’ve always wanted to experience it. I’m a night owl and consistently have trouble getting to sleep. Tonight is no exception. I’m wide awake, so I walk to the music district, which is only about six blocks away. Uggh…loud bumping bass coming out of almost every bar. But then a pleasant discovery, just as I was turning to head back to the hotel: a bar named “Friends” with a live band called “Clay Campania” (blues/rock/soul). The guitarist was absolutely amazing. For a sample, click here.

3:05 AM         To bed.

Feast of the Righteous Macrina
Anno Domini 2017
Wednesday, July 19
10:00 AM       Read and select passages for Patristic Word on EDI website

11:30 AM       Stroll for coffee and brunch and sightseeing. Discover State Capital Building is only one block away and St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Church is only one block away in the opposite direction.

12:30 PM       Transcribe Patristic Word passages and select Eighth Day View (book review) for the week: Sanctifying the World: The Augustinian Life and Mind of Christopher Dawson. Work on EDI finances.

2:30 PM         Depart for Hyatt Regency.

2:50 PM         Unload van: 36 EDB boxes, 5 tables, children’s rack, 8 EDI boxes.

4:30 PM         Set up tables and begin unpacking and sorting books.

6:45 PM         Head to St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Church for Vespers for the Feast of the Glorious Prophet Elias (Elijah).

8:15 PM         Head back to Hyatt Regency.

8:30 PM         Continue unpacking and begin displaying books.

2:25 AM         Done displaying EDB. Begin displaying EDI.

2:50 AM         Take pictures of display.

3:00 AM         Depart Hyatt.

3:10 AM         Park van at St Elias and walk to my hotel.

3:20 AM         Settle into room and have a couple handfuls of Pringles for a snack, in lieu of dinner. And begin editing Ben Davis’ piece for Eighth Day Essay tomorrow on EDI web.

3:46 AM         Finished editing and then a several emails.

4:15 AM         Attempt to sleep.

4:55 AM         Still trying to sleep. This is a perpetual problem for me.

Feast of the Prophet Elijah
Anno Domini 2017
Thursday, July 20
6:30 AM         Alarm buzzes.

6:35 AM         Alarm again.

6:40 AM         Alarm again.

6:45 AM         Alarm again and finally rise to shower.

7:05 AM         Walk to Hyatt for Circe Conference, with a stop for coffee and quiche along the way.

7:36 AM         Arrive at hotel and get computer and point-of-sale running.

7:51 AM         Ready to peddle. Mixed in with peddling throughout the day:

  • Second edit of Davis essay and post it on EDI web.
  • Type out this post up until noon.
  • Write News post on being at Circe.
  • Finish writing new post and post it.
  • Emails.
  • Transcribe Dawson book review and post on web.
  • Sit in on 10 of last 20 minutes of Ralph Wood talk – love him!

6:08 PM         Close shop and start return walk to hotel.

6:30 PM         Stop at Corner Restaurant for a burger and beer to celebrate the feast day of St. Elijah (my son Elijah was born on this feast day, which sadly means I’m missing his birthday).

7:14 PM         Continue walking to hotel. It is soooo humid here! But I can’t justify spending $54 / day to PARK!!!!

7:38 PM         Arrive, change out of sweat drenched clothes, and record these notes.

8:02 PM         It’s been a long 50 hours! Time to prepare for bed with some leisurely reading: Brothers Karamazov and St. Anselm.

9:08 PM         Receive text message from my daughter Hannah, who is in Houston (following church camp three weeks ago, she left for Houston with a friend and I’ll be picking her up on way home).

10:36 PM       Text from birthday boy Elijah in Wichita.

Midnightish   Finally asleep

Feast of Sts John & Simeon
Anno Domini 2017
Friday, July 21
6:30 AM         Alarm and Rise and Shower and Post Book Review to FB

7:08 AM         Depart for walk to Hyatt. Get coffee from Medicii (family owned in Austin since 1980s). Meet sidewalk cleaner who works for the Austin Alliance…from what I gathered, these city employees have the job of keeping the city clean and beautiful. I am enjoying this daily walk to work. It reminds me of when I lived in Mexico City. I don’t enjoy getting sweaty on the walk, but it is worth it. I realize how closed up I am in Wichita… always in a car, my office, or my home. In just three mornings, I’ve seen many of the same people and met several of them. This is the way to do mission. Not yelling on the corner to people you’ve never seen or met, but building relationships and sharing the Gospel naturally. I need to mix up my routine at home.

7:44 AM         Arrive at Hyatt, open web, and ready to peddle. Mixed in with peddling:

  • Update this chronology.
  • Transcribe and post today’s Patristic Word for EDI web.
  • Work on Director’s Desk, which provides a list of 380 books selected from the Library at the Ladder, now available to Eighth Day Patrons and Benefactors.
  • Thinking about our upcoming Inklings Octoberfest, which I’m promoting here. Started reading A Hobbit, A Wardrobe, and a Great War. Excellent book…will be reviewed and included in next issue of Synaxis, to be published after InkFest, but before Thanksgiving, in conjunction with Eighth Day Books catalog…a new venture I’m thrilled to see become a reality. But the thing that struck me most relates to both EDB and EDI. I’ll share an excerpt from the Introduction with a few comments in my next post.

6:42 PM         Leave Hyatt. When I stepped outside the hot air was actually refreshing, after being locked up in a freezing cold hotel all day.

7:17 PM         After a mile of walking in the blistering heat, I’m thankful for an air-conditioned hotel room (even if it stinks…the a/c has been leaking water onto the floor and boy does it smell!).

7:30 PM         Work on this and communicate with Hannah and Christiane.

8:30 PM         Pack up to be ready for check-out in the morning.

8:50 PM         Think about fundraising campaign.

9:40 PM         It’s my last night in the “Capital of Live Music” and I haven’t eaten. I can’t resist. Walk to music district for dinner at an Irish Pub with live music. This time it’s country…a strange mix, but again, the guitar player is amazing. After dinner I head back to “Friends” for another great band (blues/rock/soul again): “Gasoline Boots.” I have not been disappointed by the Austin music scene.

1:30 AM         To bed. Sleep came much easier this evening.

Feast of St Mary Magdalene, the Holy Myrrh-bearer and Equal to the Apostles
Anno Domini 2017
Saturday, July 22
7:30 AM         Wake ahead of alarm.

7:40 AM         Walk to pick up van from St. Elias, check out of hotel, and drive to Hyatt. Struggle to find free parking space and arrive later than I want.

7:55 AM         Hotel Wi-fi network is down. I despise computer technology.

8:20 AM         Finally up and running, thanks to hot spot. Non-stop sales for the rest of the conference.

12:00 PM       Somebody gives me a $500 gift card and tells me to use it on every customer until it runs out. Such a cool experience seeing people react, initially dumbfounded, but eventually grateful.

1:04 PM         Last sale made for $654.17!

1:15 PM         Start tearing down.

4:35 PM         Van is loaded, but I am completely drenched in sweat, so I park van back in employee lot where I loaded, go inside hotel to fill large bottle of water, change into shorts, and sit for almost an hour cooling down. And down three five liters of water.

5:30 PM         Walk to RaineyStreet district I have heard so much about, and go to Bangers (also heard about from locals), which is famous for their sausage and tap beers (101 of them). Excellent lunch/dinner and good conversation with a California builder who recently moved to Austin.

6:53 PM         Walk back to van and start driving toward Houston.

9:00 PM         Check into hotel in Brookshire, TX.

9:25 PM         In room and fall asleep waiting to figure out plan to pick up my daughter Hannah.

10:00 PM       Hannah replies and we have a plan. But now I’m awake again.

11:00 PM       Wide awake so I watch an excellent WWII movie: Hacksaw Ridge. A warning that the war violence is graphic and gory but it is based on a great true story about Dresmond Doss (he’s “persecuted” for being a pacifist and refusing to handle a gun but earns the respect of his fellow soldiers for his service as a medic).

1:00 AM         Try to go to sleep again. As usual, it’s a struggle again, but eventually get some sleep.

Feast of the Holy Prophet Ezekiel
Anno Domini 2017
Sunday, July 23
7:30 AM         Wake up involuntarily (was hoping to sleep in).

9:15 AM         Check out and head for Houston. Unfortunately, unable to attend Liturgy because we must have van back in Wichita to be unloaded and returned before 10 pm.

10:15 AM       Meet the family where Hannah stayed for the last two weeks. They are Orthodox Christians from Alexandria, Egypt – I love being Orthodox for a million reasons, but one of them is the international connections that frequently happen!

11:00 AM       Begin trek home.

3:00 PM         Stop at Whataburger for Texas burgers.

8:20 PM         Arrive home and unload personal belongings.

8:25 PM         Drive to Ladder and unload EDI materials.

8:40 PM         Unload EDB boxes, with help of Caleb and Warren.

9:30 PM         Warren and I return van to rental company.

9:45 PM         We give Marshall a ride home (you have to be a regular EDB local to know about Marshall).

10:00 PM       Finally home. Elijah is running a fever. But I missed his birthday and promised him we would watch Captain America when I returned…and he is determined to make sure that still happens. So we go rent the movie, pick up popcorn, and return home for a movie.

11:00 PM       Watch movie with Elijah, Caleb, and Hannah.

1:30 AM         To bed. It’s been a long week and I’m so glad to be home!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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