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"Before you know it as the years go by, you're just like other people you have seen, with all those peculiar human ailments. Just another vehicle for temper and vanity and rashness and all the rest. Who wants it? Who needs it? These things occupy the place where a man's soul should be." -- Henderson the Rain King

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Fan Fest

I went to the Mariners' Fan Fest this past weekend. Pretty cool little event as always. The highlight for me was getting to see King Felix and Kenji Johjima speak. Johjima seems like a pretty cool guy. I'm looking forward to seeing how he does this year. I have a feeling that how he plays will largely determine how the M's season goes.

Biggest surprise of the talk was hearing Felix say that he felt Gary Sheffield and Robinson Cano were the two toughest hitters he faced last year. Guess that tough loss against Randy Johnson still looms pretty big in his mind. I wonder if Cano would show up on any other pitchers' short list?

15 days until Spring Training starts!

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Friday, January 27, 2006

McSweeney's #18

Book #5 of my reading list this year was McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #18.

In this issue McSweeney's toned down the packaging a bit and got back to the basics of delivering a high quality set of great short stories. Taken as a whole, I'd have to say that this is one of the best issues they've delivered in quite awhile. My personal favorites in the issue were Daniel Orozco's excellent 'Somoza's Dream', Roddy Doyle's 'New Boy', Adam Levin's 'Hot Pink', Yannick Murphy's 'In a Bear's Eye', Nelly Reifler's 'The Railway Nurse', and Edmund White's fascinating 'My Hustlers'.

The book came with a copy of Wholphin, McSweeney's new DVD magazine of unseen things. I haven't had a chance to watch it yet, but I know it contains Miranda July's excellent short 'Are You the Favorite Person of Anybody?', so I have high hopes.

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Mystery Solved

Looks like the secret admirer behind my mystery Entertainment Weekly subscription is....drumroll please....YourMusic.com. Thanks YourMusic!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Last.FM Redux

I've plugged Last.FM before, but I like it so much I thought I'd mention it again.

Lately I've been using the Neighbour Radio feature at work and I'm seriously impressed. If you can imagine having your own personalized commerical free station then you've got a pretty good idea of how it works. I'd say I like about 90% of the tunes it plays for me. Of those it's about 70% stuff I know and 30% stuff I've never heard.

I've added my top 10 artists lists to the right sidebar, check them out to see what I'm listening to!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Super Bowl Bound

Go Hawks!!!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Web Junk 20

My new favorite show to TiVo is VH1's Web Junk 20. The show is just a compilation of internet clips, but mixed with Patrice O'Neal's commentary it's pretty frickin' high-larious. You can check out a bunch of clips from the show at iFilm.


Chance

Book #4 on my 2006 list was Amir Aczel's Chance: A Guide to Gambling, Love, the Stock Market and Just About Everything Else.

I found this one to be a bit disappointing. In the previous books I've read by Aczel he's taken on difficult subjects such as Fermat's Last Theorem and Entanglement and explained them in ways that anyone can understand. In this book he tackles the laws of probability, but mostly sticks to the basic concepts. I found I was already well familiar with most of the content presented (though that damned Monty Hall problem always throws me). It's not that the book is bad, but hasn't it already been written a brazillion times before (see Paulos, John Allen - Innumeracy)?

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A Man Without A Country

Book #3 of my 2006 reading list was Kurt Vonnegut's A Man Without A Country. I got this one via a gift certificate (thanks Mom and Dad).

Vonnegut is one of my absolute favorite writers so before I even attempt to review this one I should let you know that in my opinion the man is a genius. If he was a company I would own stock so consider this your full disclosure.

Okay, now that we've got that out of the way we can get down to the book at hand. At its heart it's a collection of short loosely structured essays in which Vonnegut muses on politics (he's a Socialist), religion (he's a Humanist), life (he's a Luddite), humor and whatever else happens to strike his fancy. Ever seen that 'He Who Wanders Is Not Always Lost' bumper sticker? They should slap one of those right on the front cover. If you're a Vonnegut fan you'll find it endearing and entertaining, if not you may just pull your hair out. The style is effective in that it allows Vonnegut to basically share everything that's on his mind. Consider it a brain dump from a wise old man.

One of the things that struck me the most about this book is Vonnegut's obvious thirst for knowledge. He's constantly dropping in little tidbits of information not because they're particularly germane to the discussion, but because they're interesting and fun to share. For instance did you know the word shrapnel was named after British Major-General Henry Shrapnel or that Confucious actually coined the term 'Do unto others as you'd have done unto you' 500 years before Jesus? The book is chock full of these kinds of things, leaving me thorougly convinced that a real-life conversation with Vonnegut would be absolutely fascinating. Perhaps something like talking to that kid from Jerry Maguire. God bless you Mr. Vonnegut.

Many of the essays in the book can be found on-line on In These Times.

Kurt Vonnegut's Homepage


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Better Late Than Never

Two of my goals this year are 1) use our excellent public library system more and 2) watch more films. With that in mind I recently checked out Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on DVD. It's been on my list of things to see forever, but I never rent any movies so I just hadn't gotten around to it. Anyways, I watched it tonight and was absolutely blown away. What a phenomenal frickin' film! I've gotta say this using the library thing is off to a great start.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Mystery Subscription

Did someone send me a gift subscription of Entertainment Weekly? It's been showing up at my house lately and I have no idea where it came from. Seriously if you want the latest Brangelina gossip hit me up cause I've got the goods. Not that I'm complaining. Anyways, if it was you, um thanks.

Perhaps it was a Join Me act?

Sunday, January 15, 2006

No Rain

Looks like our Seattle rain streak is stopping at 27 days. Anybody else feeling gipped? I mean if it's going to rain every day for almost a frickin' month the least we could do is break some records.

And I don't understand why I sleep all day
And I start to complain that there's no rain
And all I can do is read a book to stay awake
And it rips my life away, but it's a great escape
-- Shannon Hoon

The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil

Book #2 of 2006 was George Saunders' new political satire The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil, which I recently got for my birthday (thanks LDC!).

You can find review blurbs, excerpts, tattoos, and lots o' other Phil-related swag on the official website. But I must ask, since when do books have official websites?

My recommendation is read this one, but not before you read CivilWarLand and Pastoralia.

NPR Review
Bookforum Review

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Best Headline/Quote Ever

Quote: "Maybe he has an exceptionally hard head" -- Ron Shurley
Whoa.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Dirt

I kicked off my 2006 50 book challenge with The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band.

I've never been a fan of Motley Crue, but it's hard not to like this book. It's basically just a really well written, well structured tale of pure rock and roll debauchery. It would be tough to beat Amazon's excellent book description which sums things up really well:


"Whiskey and porn stars, hot reds and car crashes, black leather and high heels, overdoses and death. This is the life of Motley Crue, the heaviest drinking, hardest fighting, most oversexed and arrogant band in the world. Their unbelievable exploits are the stuff of rock 'n' roll legend. They nailed the hottest chicks, started the bloodiest fights, partied with the biggest drug dealers, and got to know the inside of every jail cell from California to Japan. They have dedicated an entire career to living life to its extreme, from the greatest fantasies to the darkest tragedies. Tommy married two international sex symbols; Vince killed a man and lost a daughter to cancer; Nikki overdosed, rose from the dead, and then OD'd again the next day; and Mick shot a woman and tried to hang his own brother. But that's just the beginning. Fueled by every drug they could get their hands on and obscene amounts of alcohol, driven by fury and headed straight for hell, Motley Crue raged through two decades, leaving behind a trail of debauched women, trashed hotel rooms, crashed cars, psychotic managers, and broken bones that has left the music industry cringing to this day. All these unspeakable acts, not to mention their dire consequences, are laid bare in The Dirt." -- Amazon Review

Powell's Review

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

It Can't Rain All The Time

Today was our 25th straight consecutive day of rain here in Seattle...and no that's not normal. 8 more and we'll break a local record that's more than 50 years old! Only 76 more and we can catch Ketchikan, Alaska's record streak. Sweet.

Ferret Legging

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you ferret legging.

"The ferrets must have a full mouth o' teeth. No filing of the teeth; no clipping. No dope for you or the ferrets. You must be sober, and the ferrets must be hungry-- though any ferret'll eat yer eyes out even if he isn't hungry. So then, lad. Any more questions 'fore I poot a few down for ye?" -- Reg Mellor


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

50 Book Challenge 2006 Edition

I think I'm going to give the 50 book challenge another go around this year. I'm not off to a great start speed wise, but I'm currently working my way through The Dirt and finding it fascinating so at least the quality is good. Motley Crue + Red Vines = Crazy. Which by the basic laws of identity can just be reduced to Motley Crue = Crazy.

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

I Have the Feeling That 60% of What You Say is Crap

Sweet Jesus David Letterman hates Bill O'Reilly. Check out this video of Letterman doing his best Jon Stewart impression. Awesome.


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Wide Receivers Gone Wild

Lynn Swann is running for Governor of Pennsylvania? And he's a Republican? Say Whaaa? Next you're going to try to convince me that Jerry Rice is going to be on some reality dance show or something. Sheez.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Why USC is Overrated

Slate has a good article on why this year's USC team is overrated. Is it just me or has ESPN's pre-game coverage hype just given more credibility to the argument that ESPN sucks?

Reggie Bush on the other hand...not overrated at all. That kid's frickin' awesome!