Friday, January 29, 2010

E-Lec-Tronic Readin'

Beep. Boop. Computers. Computers.

I just finished reading my first book electronically. (Ooo. Aah.) And so here are my thoughts on reading books electronically...

It was a positive experience. First, and most importantly, it only took me about fifteen minutes before I stopped thinking, "I'm reading an e-book," and started thinking, "I'm reading a Stephen King book." In other words, the Kindle did not interfere with my ability to enter the world of the story. The device itself did not get in the way of my reading. But to be fair, I did miss the physical act of turning a paper page. In my opinion though, I have no problem sacrificing that simple pleasure for the benefits the Kindle afforded me.

For one thing, Stephen King's new book Under the Dome is about 1000 pages! There is no way I would have been able to read that beast during my daily commute on the Metro. Also, I only paid $9.99 for it. And on those days when XL people "sat" "next" to me on the train, I didn't need that extra room for my arms to turn the pages of the book. (Body pressed against the train window, I was still able to read!)

Plus, as soon as I finished Under the Dome, I started right into my next book at the push of a button. Easy peasy.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Notes to My Future Biographer

I always wanted to be a bus driver. There's something about the big horizontal steering wheel and loud roar of acceleration that attracted me to the profession. I wonder if a big conversion van would satiate this desire...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

iPad? Really?

First of all, I'm not a hater. I only harass the Apple fanboys because it's so easy and fun. Personally, I love the Apple products I own. And if it weren't for Apple I would have never got through college (the Apple Education loan afforded me a computer, albeit a pre-Steve Jobs beige bore.) I love my iPod and iTunes. And I love my iPhone. With that said, I am SOOOOO glad the new iPad is (initially) a let-down.

Let me explain: I recently got a Kindle for Christmas and it wasn't cheap. I love reading and I love not having to carry a big book around during my daily commute. But shortly after the holidays word spread like a dad's fart that Apple was soon to release their own "eReader"/tablet. My first thought was that I wasted $300 because obviously Apple was going to make a far superior product.

Keep in mind, an "eReader" is not like reading a computer monitor. eInk (via Kindle or Nook) is a new technology that requires very little power and is very easy on the eyes. The contrast with eInk is similar to that of a paperback book. Computer monitors are 'back-lit' which will basically turn your brain to mush if you stare at it too long.

Guess what - the iPad is a back-lit, LED screen. For me, this is the deal breaker. I'm once again grateful for my Kindle. Sure the iPad's interface is super cool, but I surely cannot imagine staring at a computer monitor for hours on end in my living room to read a book.

There's plenty of other reasons the new iPad is letting people down all over the world (here's a list courtesy of Engadget), but for me, my attention was solely directed at its eReader capabilities.

Also, the name iPad sucks.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Friday, January 22, 2010


How to be Happy

Eat eggs.
Read books.
Help people get up after they fall down.
Take pictures.
Watch Parks and Recreation on NBC.
Walk your dog.
Embrace pancakes.

Never rat on your friends
Always keep your mouth shut.

Try to make someone else happy.


I love everyone in this. Can't wait.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


by Michael Dennis Browne

Today I explained telepathy to you,
and telephone, and television,
on the way to day care,

and I said, sometimes when I'm at work
I'll think of you,
and if I could send you that thought with my mind,

you'd get it right then,
and maybe you'd smile, stopping a moment at whatever
you were doing, or maybe not

but just going on with it, making a mask out of paper plates
and orange and green cards
with markers and scissors and paste,

or screaming circles in the gym
either being a monster
or being chased by a gang of them, but still you'd get

the picture I was beaming
and you'd brighten inside and flash me something back,
which I'd get, where I was, and smile at.

That's telepathy, I said
pulling into the parking lot,
looking at you in the mirror.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ke$ha and Cottage Cheese

I don't have a favorite food anymore. Not like I did when I was a kid. "Pizza!" Same goes for movies and music. My palette has either expanded, or I dislike less things. Maybe it's a sign of tolerance. Because lately I've been digging that song Tik Tok by Ke$ha. And I ate some cottage cheese yesterday.

For the record, I still don't like cottage cheese. But Ke$ha can come over and hang out with me and Lynette anytime.

The Odd Shirt

How do we deal with change? How do we do it? Seriously. On paper it seems easy, right? Change comes and we deal with it. Easy peasy. But every once in a while our patience is tested with unexpected change and those grandiose, flowery ideas of "rolling with the punches" fly out the window.

(What is JC talking about? Something must have happened, oh my!)

Be warned, my story is dull. I won't be upset if you click away. But after a very long weekend I returned to work and received an email riddled with change. On the surface, it's no big deal and I won't bore you with the details. In the end, everything will be fine and dandy.

My point here though is that for a few minutes I was furious and angry. I'm fairly good at dealing with unexpected change, but it made me wonder how the rest of the world does it. I suppose a lot don't. I suppose it can be narrowed down to how much patience one has.

(No, my desk was not moved to the basement. But if they try to take my stapler I'm gonna burn this mother down!)

So here I am. Sitting at work dealing with change. Maybe I'm not dealing with it very well given that I have taken to the internet with my tales of woe.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Twenty Ten is lookin' good

So far, this year is starting out great for me! Things are looking up, baby. Spirits are high, attitudes shiny. Only thing that would seem appropriate right now is an all-girl banjo orchestra...

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Saw a lady reading a Kindle on the train this morning. She saw me reading a Kindle, too. We gave each other a nod and a smile that said, "We're cooler than every other jerk on this train."

Things I don't do anymore

1. Smoke cigarettes.
2. Eat fast food.
3. Play the violin.
4. Drive.
5. Judge.
6. Wear Converse All-Stars.
7. Write poetry.
8. Drink gin and tonic.
9. Give it away for free.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Say it ain't so, Mark.

Shakespeare taught us the elements of a good tragedy. He knew that nothing sells better than the story of a great man who falls from grace. Depending on your definition of the word great, heroes fall every day. And the current media atmosphere that we have embraced as a culture almost expects it daily. Myself included. But yesterday one of MY heroes fell. One of MY heroes suddenly became human right before my eyes.

I grew up hating baseball. I thought it was dull and boring and silly. Granted, I was a fat kid and whenever I played baseball I was always relegated to left field (left field is a dead zone - the perfect position for overweight, unenthusiastic players).

In 1998, two men saved baseball. Literally. It's hard to fathom, but in 1994 baseball went on strike and quit in the middle of the season. No All-Star game, no playoffs, no World Series. Many people - generations of people - lost faith in their beloved sport. My father included. Baseball was inches from its last breath.

But in 1998 something wonderful happened. I was enlightened by baseball. Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa were surprisingly racing for the most coveted sports record in the history of all sports: the single season home run record. Not since 1961 had anyone come close to breaking this record. And suddenly not just one, but two men were poised to do it.

Suddenly, the nation started paying attention again. I started paying attention. It was a magical season and I have always credited Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa for showing me the beauty and distinction of baseball.

Yesterday Mark McGuire admitted to using steroids in 1998. Granted, we all knew the man was juiced. Sammy, too. And Barry Bonds. But still. I for one did not want to talk about it. Ever. I was perfectly happy going on with my life remembering 1998 fondly as the year I fell in love with baseball. It's kind of like sitting at the Thanksgiving dinner table and not calling your mother out for drinking too many glasses of wine, or asking your dad why he had that affair with his secretary last year.

*I'm not advocating for any sort of drug use, but one could make the argument that without the widespread use of steroids baseball may have gone the way of soccer and arena football in this country. Just sayin'.

Know this: I will continue to celebrate the accomplishment Mark McGuire achieved in 1998 - not that he hit 70 home runs, but that he was able to pull someone like me into the world of baseball. I will always be grateful to him for that.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Best Movie of the 00's

I've been doing some thinking. Movie thinking. I've been reading everyone's end-of-the-year lists of good and best movies of the decade. They all had the obvious fare: The Royal Tennenbaums; Y Tu Mama Tambien; There Will Be Blood... But then one list, created by The A.V. Club, of all places, inserted a movie that made me feel guilty for mentally misplacing it. I remember the feeling I had in my heart when this movie ended: It was that feeling you get when you say goodbye to someone you know you'll never see again. It's a bittersweet feeling because you're happy for the beauty the relationship provided, but there's no getting around the ache of heartbreak that we all unfortunately have lived and learned to deal with.

The movie is The New World.

Both dismal and enchanting. Breathless and meditative. The New World surely transported me. Visually and emotionally.

Things I'm Sick Of

1. The cold.
2. The politics.
3. The squeak in my shoe.
4. The Patriots.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Monkey Gone to Heaven

To say the Pixies is one of my favorite bands is like saying I don't mind drinking water to survive. The Pixies were a constant part of my adolescent soundtrack and continue to demand respect. Here they are making a recent visit to the Late Show:

Pixie Tip: Surfer Rosa and Doolittle (essential albums)

Litter Snobbery

I just walked to the nearby Starbucks here in downtown DC and noticed one of those long Slim Jim wrappers dancing in the icy breeze and thought to myself, "What kind of person throws an empty Slim Jim wrapper on the ground?" And then the question sort of answered itself: A person who eats Slim Jims.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sexy Chick!

Put this on your iPod and go nuts on that elliptical!

Charlie the Horse

My left shoe is squeaking. Loudly. With every step. I think the lady who sits by the door is starting to hate me because I have to walk by her cubicle every time I go to the bathroom. I try to walk in a manner that silences the squeak, but the squeak remains and I just end up looking like someone just gave me a charliehorse.

Charliehorse. I'd like to know the origin of that word. To the internet!

Update: In the UK they're called choppers. And in Australia they're called corky's. But that doesn't answer my question.

Train Tales

A man and a younger man walked onto the metro train this morning...

Dad (speaking to nearby passengers): "Good morning."
Son: "Dad, you don't have to say good morning to everybody."
Dad (glaring at his son): "Obviously, I do."

Where would we be without

1. Coffee
2. Tables
3. Coffee tables

Looking at Pictures to be Put Away

By Gary Snyder

Who was this girl
In her white night gown
Clutching a pair of jeans

On a foggy redwood deck.
She looks up at me tender,
Calm, surprised,

What will we remember
Bodied thick with food and lovers
After twenty years.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Uncharted 2

Holy shit. I'm not going to tell you how awesome this game is. When I say holy shit nothing more needs to be said. Holy shit.

If you're looking for a reason to buy a PS3 (other than needing an awesome Blu-Ray player) it's Uncharted 2.

Funny thing, this commercial isn't far from the truth. Uncharted 2 is better than most movies released in 2009 (probably in the whole decade). Don't believe me? Read this.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Banned Words

Lake Superior State University declares the following words from 2009 BANNED:

  • Shovel-ready
  • Transparent/Transparency
  • Czar
  • Tweet
  • App
  • Sexting
  • Friend as a verb
  • Teachable moment
  • In these economic times ...
  • Stimulus
  • Toxic assets
  • Too big to fail
  • Bromance
  • Chillaxin'
  • Obama-prefix or roots

(Lake Superior State University?)

Sometimes there's poetry

I heard a great line today:

"It's like explaining Heaven to bears."

I'm going to steal it.

January, Forth!

Feels like I've been gone a month. The cold doesn't help. Would've liked to have a balmy return to work.

Where is everybody? I always forget to take Monday off. Returning to work on a Tuesday seems nicer to me. The train was still full though. On the upside, my Kindle worked like a dream. This large man decided to sit next to me squishing me up against the Metro window and my arms were immobilized making page turning difficult. With my new Kindle, all I needed was a finger. In my head, every time I 'turned a page' I yelled out, "BOOM!"

Things I miss about being on vacation:
1. Wearing the same flannel shirt and jogging pants for a week and half.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

She makes me high

I'm making Lentil soup. Lynette is making macaroni and cheese. In this weather, these dishes are a drug. And we're enabling each other.

500 Days of Summer (See it if you like good movies)

I have finally viewed a movie about love that is truly about love. 500 Days of Summer is the most accurate portrayal of love and fate I have ever seen. This movie refreshingly abandons most Hollywood conventions (you'll know it when you see the the musical number in the middle, perfectly done). As the movie poster tagline reads, "This is not a love story. This is a story about love."

If you don't relate to this movie, then you haven't been through enough relationships. Especially, relationships that hurt and confuse and ultimately open your eyes.

500 Days of Summer is probably one of the top five movies of 2009 that no one will ever see. And you'll know why after you see it. I highly recommend it, but if you're looking for a typical movie about romance and love go find Reese Witherspoon or Cameron Diaz. If you want something real and poetic, look toward Zooey Deschanel and 500 Days of Summer.