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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

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Map Schmap

I got an email from Schmap.com today saying that six of my Austin photos on Flickr have been short listed for inclusion in their Schmap Austin Guide, to be published in mid-April 2006. Not sure if it's just a marketing scheme to get people to check out their site (it's certainly getting blogged about a fair amount), but if so it's a pretty clever one and I applaud them.

Their New York and San Francisco guides are already live and do indeed include real Flickr users' pictures, so it looks like there's at least a legit chance that some of my pictures will really end up in there (for whatever that's worth)...so um yeah if you want my autograph or something just let me know.

Here's an example of my fine work. Note how I frame the phallic sign with half of a tree and the tip top of some parked cars. Pure genius.


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Less Than Zero

"Teenage angst has paid off well, now I'm bored and old..."

Lucky book #13 was Bret Easton Ellis' Less Than Zero, a Holden Caulfield-inspired coming of age tale set in the drug-infested 80's L.A. scene.

The book was pretty good though I'd recommend reading Hubert Selby's Requiem For A Dream or Jim Carroll's Basketball Diaries first. Both are similar in theme but slightly stronger in execution. What I'll remember most about Less Than Zero though is not the actual book, but rather my experience reading it on my way back from Vegas.

Picture sitting in a plane on the tarmac at Vegas' McCarran International. The stewardesses have just sat down in preparation for take off when the seemingly normal guy quietly reading next to you suddenly gets a massive nose bleed. Yeah, that bloody nose guy would be me. I have no idea how it happened. I don't think I've had a nose bleed since I was like 5, but for some reason my stupid nose decided that leaking like a sieve might be fun. Anyways, the lady next to me starts freaking out, everyone turns around to stare, the stewardess rush over with piles of small ineffective napkins and meanwhile I'm just wishing I could disappear into my seat. Good times. Thanks a lot nose, I owe you one.

While I'm tempted to blame the whole Vegas Nose Bleed Catastrophe on the dry Nevada air (hey I'm from Seattle where we practically breath H20), part of me wonders if it was some kind of subconcious sympathy nose bleed caused by reading all of the cocaine sniffing scenes in the book. Even sitting here writing this now the thought of sniffing anything is making my nose kinda itchy.

So net, net it sounds like my advice here is avoid this book, it'll give you nose bleeds and that ain't cool. If you choose not to heed my advice Wikipedia has a little more about the book here. Proceed at your own risk.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Survivor

"I'm a Survivor, I'm Not Gon' Give Up..."

Book numero dozen was Chuck Palahniuk's Survivor.

I have to admit that I think all of Chuck Palahniuk's books are pretty much identical. You either like his writing style in which case you'll probably dig them all, or you hate it in which case you should just watch Fight Club and call it good. I'm pro-Chuck and despite my claim that all of the books are similar I'd have to put Survivor high on the list of my favorite Chuck books.

The story is about a man named Tender Branson who's the last survivor of a religious cult called the Creedish (think Heaven's Gate)...and here I thought Creed-ish was just a good way to describe a really crappy band. Anyways, I was going to provide some very artculate well thought out details about the plot, but damn if the always excellent Wikipedia hasn't already scooped me with a lucid summary of the entire book, including a explanation of the surprise(?)/ambigious ending from Palahniuk himself.

For some reason the Wikipedia summary neglects to mention the fascinating PornFill - aka the Tender Branson Sensitive Materials Sanitary Landfill - a truly Palahniukian idea which consists of a 20,000 acre repository for the nation's discarded porn. Between the PornFill and the hi-jacked plane that Branson plans on crashes into Australia it's no wonder Survivor hasn't yet made it to the big screen.

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Monday, March 27, 2006

Final Four

Gators are in the Final Four....AW YEAH! George Mason's going down.


Friday, March 24, 2006

Vegas Baby

I'm heading down to Vegas this weekend. Should be pretty cool to be there during March Madness! Sadly I'll be on a plane during the Gator game tomorrow. Grr. They'd better come through so I can watch them on Sunday. Got that Billy Donovan?

On a related note, anyone got any fool-proof gambling schemes to share? I seriously suck at gambling, so when I say fool-proof I mean fool-proof.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

All The Presidents' Pets

Book #11 of my '06 list was Mo Rocca's All The Presidents' Pets: The Story of One Reporter Who Refused To Roll Over.

Mo Rocca is a funny man. His book on the other hand...not so much. Since we're talking politics here I'll break it down as a simple litmus test for you. If the idea of Senior White House Correspondent Helen Thomas actually being a centuries-old turkey buzzard in disguise makes you fall out of your chair laughing then get thee to the library. Still here? You may just want to pass on this one.

The basic storyline of the book mixes a little bit of fact with a whole lotta fiction to concoct a tale of how the Presidents' pets have really controlled much of our country's history (and no joke, Helen Thomas the turkey buzzard really is the central character). Rocca clearly knows an awful lot about Presedential pets, but by blending fact and fiction he makes it difficult to know when he's dropping knowledge and when he's just talking out his a%$. The book is supposed to be a bit of a spoof on The Da Vinci Code (which I haven't read), so admittedly it's entirely possible that this blending is deliberate and hilarious and I just didn't get it.

Although it didn't work well as a book for me, there were definitely some funny parts. Pretty much every scene with Condi Rice is hilarious. There are also some great one liners like Bush proclaiming “All those times I heard that voice, I thought it was Jesus talkin’ to me” when he finds out his dog Barney can speak....er, make that talk.

A longer review by the Washingtonian is available here.


# of official Barney press conferences = 1
# of official G.W. press conferences = 0

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

V for Vendetta

Caught V For Vendetta yesterday at the fancy schmancy new Lincoln Square theater in Bellevue. I thought it was pretty good. Not a classic, but definitely not the disaster that comic creator Alan Moore has made it out to be (then again I've never read his comic so I may be suffering from the law of primacy).

The film is a bit over-the-top (it is the Wachowski brothers after all), but it's beautifully shot, well paced and will at least make you think a bit. Definitely worth seeing if you get a chance.

Rotten Tomatoes reviews

Seattle based band Natalie Portman's Shaved Head


Monday, March 20, 2006

2006 Mariners Commercials

The 2006 Mariners commercials are out and they're pretty darned funny this year. You can view them all on the Mariners' official site. It's hard to pick a favorite, but I'd have to go with "The Kollectors" where people are stealing K's from around town to use when Felix pitches. Hopefully we'll burn through a lot of those this year.

In other Mariners related news, congrats to Ichiro and the Japan team for their huge win in the World Baseball Classic.


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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Sweet 16!

Today was a good basketball day. The Gators and Huskies are both headed to the Sweet 16! It's the Gators fifth Sweet 16 run and the third under Billy Donovan.


Friday, March 17, 2006

Jon Stewart = Genius

Anyone who watches the Daily Show on a regular basis probably already knows that Jon Stewart is a genius, but here's even more proof for you.

Last May I posted about Stewart's book Naked Pictures of Famous People, just like I post about each of the books I read. Who would've guessed that the seemingly average post would turn out to be the most popular thing I posted on my blog all year?

I'm still getting hits from people searching for 'naked pictures', 'naked famous people', 'naked people', etc. One of my favorite recent ones was someone searching for 'really good pictures of naked people'. Apparently they had just had enough of all that crappy Pr0n and were hoping to really zero in on the good stuff.

Now if just a small fraction of these people, are going to Amazon.com and looking for the same thing something tells me Stewart is selling a whole heckuva lot 'o books. You know what that means...Mo' Money, Mo' Money, Mo' Money. See what I mean? Genius.


Smut Peddler?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Books #1-10

Here are the first ten books from my 2006 reading list:
  1. The Dirt - Motley Crue
  2. The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil - George Saunders
  3. A Man Without a Country - Kurt Vonnegut
  4. Chance - Amir Aczel
  5. McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #18 - Various
  6. Science Friction - Michael Shermer
  7. Oh the Glory of it All - Sean Wilsey
  8. Yes Man - Danny Wallace
  9. Mother Night - Kurt Vonnegut
  10. The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2003 - Various

Previously: My 2005 reading list

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The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2003

Book #10 on my 2006 reading list was The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2003. Now I know you're probably wondering, "Hmm...if this reading was nonrequired in 2003 what does that make it in this the year 2006". Touché. Nonetheless here we are.

My favorite works from the book were Ryan Boudinot's excellent "The Littlest Hitler", Mark Bowden's fascinating "Tales of the Tyrant", Chuck Klosterman's "The Pretenders" (which also appeared in Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs), K. Kvashay Boyle's "Saint Chola", J.T. Leroy's "Stuff", and James Pinkerton's hi-larious "How To Write Suspense".

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Monday, March 13, 2006

Is There A Heaven For Computers?

Yesterday I discovered that my HP Pavilion 8190 300mhz PC finally bit the dust. It was refurbished when I got it, but I still managed to get a solid 8 years of steady use out of it. That's like 100 in computer years!

R.I.P. Hewy, it was a good run.


Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story

This weekend we saw Tristam Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story , the new Steve Coogan film about the making of movie adapatation of the first post-modern novel The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy. Got that? That's post-modern squared my friends.

It's an enjoyable and amusing film that works on a lot of levels. Oh and it's got Gillian Anderson in it. Definitely the kind of movie you'll end up talking about for quite a while after seeing. Worth checking out if you get a chance, but even if you have no interest in movie, it's still worth a quick perusal of the equally post-modern official site.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Mother Night

Book #9 on my '06 reading list was Kurt Vonnegut's 1961 novel Mother Night.

Mother Night is the story of Howard W. Campbell Jr., a fictional Nazi propaganda radio host living in exile in New York City roughly 25 years after the war. Campbell serves as the narrarator of the story, retelling his travails as he awaits trial as a war criminal. As the story unfolds we find that Campbell, one of the most hated vitrolic Nazi sympathizers was actually serving as a double agent, using his radio show to relay secret communications back to the American government. After the war the U.S. refuses to confirm or deny Campbell's status as a spy, leaving him out to dry.

As the protagonist of the story Campbell presents an interesting duality. On the one hand he could be considered a hero for his efforts in helping the U.S. win the war, but on the other hand how can a man who lived as a Nazi and inspired so much hatred be a hero? This is the question that Vonnegut leaves the reader and Campbell to ponder as he awaits his fate.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one, although it's quite different from the other works I've read by Vonnegut. Although there is still the typical Vonnegut wit dashed throughout, the tone of the book is a little sadder/heavier. In a lot of ways I'd say it's a more mature work than his other novels, though often the beauty of Vonnegut is his ability to be a little immature and come at things from a different angle than we're used to seeing.

It seems like everything I've been reading lately has been adapted into a movie, and it turns out that this one's no exception. The 1996 version of the film stars Nick Nolte and a pre-teen Kirsten Dunst.

For a more in depth description of Mother Night I'd recommend checking out this Wikipedia article.

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Monday, March 06, 2006

Yes Man

Book #8 of my 2006 reading list was Yes Man by Danny Wallace.

I really enjoyed Wallace's last book Join Me which detailed his exploits as an accidental cult founder, so when I accidently stumbled upon his new one in the self-help section of our local library I had to pick it up.

Speaking of Join Me (note the nice segue), I was pleased to see my copy being passed on via a friend (let's call her J-Ho) on Book Crossing. Looks like it's made its way down to Bend, Oregon, and may soon make its way out to Atlanta. Here's a comment from its current owner:

Thursday, March 02, 2006 Found the book outside the the Red Mill Burger on Phinney the weekend of Saturday, February 11th. Actually, I just like to think that I found it there, at the home of the best burgers in Seattle, but that's not factually true. Found it outside a god damn starbucks next door to the Red Mill Burger. Anyway, love the idea. Absolutely love it.

Anyways, back to Yes Man, the premise of the new book is that while in a bit of a funk Wallace meets a stranger on a bus who advises him to 'Say yes more'. Wallace decides to take this to the extreme, saying yes to everything anyone asks of him (with some clever exceptions to prevent his friends from taking advantage of him). This 'stupid boy project' ends up leading him on several fabulous adventures all documented hilariously in the book. I laughed pretty much the whole way through the book, though I think the morale of 'say yes more' is one that I'll try to apply to my own life as well.

The book has already been optioned by Warner Brothers and is supposedly in the works to be made into a movie starring Jack Black. Join Me is being made into a movie as well, so don't be surprised if you hear more about Wallace in the near future.

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Weekends Away

Spent this weekend relaxing in Victoria B.C. We took the Victoria Clipper up Saturday morning and stayed at the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort. It was excellent as always, especially the food at the scrumptious Rebar and Linda McCartney's photo exhibit at the Royal BC Museum.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

In The Valley...Kidd Valley

Overheard at lunch today:

Dude #1 (while showing off right-wing 'news' site The Drudge Report to a co-worker/friend): Yeah, I know most of it is propoganda, but hey I like America.

Dude #2: Cool.