Tuesday, July 31, 2007
More About Books
There are two motives for reading a book: one, that you enjoy it; the other, that you can boast about it. - Bertrand Russell

A blog I happened upon was discussing whether you can be a true reader and get your books from the library. And I responded with ....ummm, yes. And I wanted to add a "duh" but did not. It actually makes me mad to know that there are readers out there who insist on buying each and every book they want to read. Almost as a status symbol.

Not only can you be a "reader" and still get books from the library, but you SHOULD get books from the library. We need libraries. And we need trees. Considering about 20 million trees are cut down every year for paper products, it is ridiculous to consider there are millions of books that are read once and sit, unused, on shelves.

I have a lot of books. I like books. I like to look at books. I like nice books by my favorite authors. I use books. It is hard for me to do my school stuff without books. But I am a responsible book owner. I get a book from the library, see how much I would use it, and then buy it. If I can buy it used, I will.

Are you feeling guilty yet? Good.

If you MUST buy each and every book you want, please consider this-
http://www.ecolibris.net/ plant a tree for every book you read.

Your future children thank you.


Monday, July 30, 2007
A Post About Books
Only two more weeks of summer and I didn't get near enough reading done. Never enough.

But I did join this GoodReads thing. (Thanks Alison!) I like it because it allows you to keep up with all your reading and keep a shelf of 'to reads.' I've really tried to get better about keeping track of everything I read and how I felt about it. I've loaded up all of 2007 and am working my way backwards. Sign up! And then friend me. You can get to my profile from my right sidebar. I'd also recommend Librarything. I actually may like that system a little better simply because of the ease of use and it has a nifty recommendation feature but it limits how many books you can track if you have a free account. Just join both.

Also...my friend Brad tipped me off to the netflix of books. I was a little bummed because I realized that I wasn't going to be able to invent such a service. But I got over it when I realized that it was pretty much exactly what I was looking for.

Sooooo--everyone....I introduce to you Hacking Netflix. Go check it out! $19.99 for 3 at a time.


Thursday, July 26, 2007
Sad Day

News just broke that the head coach of Wake Forest University's basketball team, Skip Prosser, has passed away suddenly.

This is shocking and sad news. It is a huge loss for the WFU community and the NCAA. Just a cursory glance at news about Wake basketball lets you know how important he was to the program and the players. Multiple players from this year's very strong recruiting class told encouraging stories about Skip as a coach, mentor and person. He was the reason many of them came to the school. Multiple coaches have talked about how kind, generous and amazing he was.

While only at WFU for two years, I had the pleasure of running into Skip on two separate occasions. At a local bar and while waiting in line for basketball tickets. During the latter experience, he was handing out donuts to the fans who had long been waiting in line to see his team play. Stories from other friends and WFU fans let me know that I'm not alone in my very positive interactions.

He will be missed by so many people. My heart goes out to his wife, sons and players.

My Inner Voyeur
has come out [again] and is interested in the following:

The Paris Review Interviews: Literary interviews with Dorothy Parker, T.S. Eliot, Truman Capote, Ernest Hemingway AND MORE. Thoughtful, self deprecating and witty comments about self, writing and life.

The Journal of Joyce Carol Oates: Excerpts from the first decade of her personal journal. Not only about her personal and writing life but also about her friendships with the likes of Updike and Sexton.

The Believer Book of Writers Talking to Writers: Conversations between the best writers of today. Love it.

Also...I've recently become obsessed with a great idea of mine. HOW AWESOME WOULD IT BE if Borders/Barnes and Noble would do with books what Blockbuster and Netflix has done with movies? I want to pay a monthly fee. I want to have a queue of books. I want to return them at a convenient location and pick them up at my mailbox if I'm so inclined. And don't tell me to "go to the library." Um, I DO. And it isn't good enough. I want a book store at my fingertips. I don't want to wait for Ms. Slowpoke reader to get done with the book I want. Nor do I want to buy all the books I want to read and plan on only reading once.

There is Booksfree but it is too limiting. I demand more selection.

If this whole PhD thing doesn't work out...

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Monday, July 23, 2007
You Tube + Politics
To say that I was skeptical of tonight's debate format would be an understatement. My concerns were twofold. On one hand I was anxious that the debate would be an excuse for indignant, arrogant, and inarticulate citizens to get involved in the political world simply because they could rather than because they should (elitism much?). On the other, I wasn't convinced the debate would be all that different. Sure, the questions were coming from YouTube but the debate was still being run by the mainstream media. CNN was picking the questions they would air. They were doing the follow up questions. The candidates were still running for office. The American people were still only half listening. I believe in the power of the internet. I believe it is starting to change politics. I believe YouTube is starting to change politics. But I more believe it is changing accountability. Changing the theatre of campaigning. I don't necessarily believe it is changing the process of politics. Not yet anyway. It contributes to the overall change we are seeing (raising more money, newer demographics paying attention and maybe voting) but YouTube has not revolutionized the process. It is still controlled by special interest. It is still a game. It is still played only by certain people.

But to say that I enjoyed tonight's debate would be an understatement. I. LOVED. IT. Sure, there were a few uncomfortable questions by people who made me shake my head. Anderson Cooper had some rough moments. But overall, I did see a difference in this debate. First, more domestic questions. THANK GOD. I think at this point we get the candidates' Iraq position. We get they want more diplomacy and less war. We get they think we are the embarrassment in the international community. WE GET IT. What we don't get a lot of is a conversation about education. We don't get conversations middle America. And we don't get clash. Tonight was a start on all of those things. I enjoy the united we stand front. But I also like to see Edwards and Clinton battle out the specifics of their ideas. [SIDENOTE] How great was Clinton's correct assertion that it is a good day when politicians are addressing women's issues?! Right on. I don't agree with how everyone is addressing them but at least they know they're there.

A few specific thoughts:

Who did the best? Clinton. For sure. She was smart, articulate, gracious and even a little likable. I think she has shown a large improvement. I guess it is easy to win, however, when you are already winning. I am not a Clinton supporter. I walked away liking her a little bit more tonight.

Worst? Goes without saying--Gravel. GET HIM OFF THE STAGE. The only thing he does is make the other candidates look less crazy to Republican voters. He is not a democrat (take your flat tax and shove it...). He is polarizing. He is embarrassing. He does not want a Democratic victory in 08. I was angry tonight. If he wants to start a conversation, he should start a blog. Maybe he would get more questions if he stopped shouting his answers. He looked like a madman.

Most Improved? Richardson. He started to trail off at the end and gets a little long-winded but I loved his answer on gay marriage. Great talking points in that answer..."I'll go after what we can get..." His strength lies in selling the optimism and pragmatism of policies. But he has a long, long way to go.

Best video? Edwards. Loved it. It was playful yet poignant. WHAT. THE. HELL. WERE DODD'S PEOPLE THINKING?!

What I wish they would keep up even when the format goes back to the old way? The humor. Sure, at times it was forced. But by far, this was the most enjoyable debate for viewers. The candidates all seemed confident and proud. Confident and proud.

My unsolicited advice? If I see another "show of hands" question in another debate, I will kick the television. STOP IT. We are not engaged in some elementary school election. Not only that but Kucinich looked especially ridiculous and it just isn't fair to him.

Obama needs to get rid of the word "look" from his debate vocabulary. We don't need a lecture, Obama. We need a concise message.

Never. Ever. Pull out a cell phone during a debate. NEVER.

The whole 'I'm poorer than you' bit? Offensive.

If you'd like some really interesting and complete commentary on the YouTube debates and public dialogue, head over to http://www.debatescoop.org/.

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Hi. Remember me?
38 days
4,371 miles
88 hours
15 states
1 wedding

And lots of fun. Just because you care, I'm going to tell you about my TOP FIVES from the McMeta/H-B summer road trip. Now, to be fair, our friend was only with us for the first two weeks so he can't be held responsible for all the decisions made on the trip. But I can. E-mail me with complaints.

Rosemary's Thyme Bistro (Washington DC)
Five Guys Burger and Fries (All over the eastern US except in GA which is a big bummer)
Shadow's on the Hudson* (Poughkeepsie, NY)
26 Seats (NYC)
El Vez (Philadelphia, PA)

* "In my pants" billboard game. See a billboard, read it aloud, add "in my pants" to the end. Laugh
* Keep a running list of all the places you've eaten over the last 30+ days and continuously discuss which you liked best. Get hungry and insist on stopping to get a snack.
* Listen to Pete Yorn's new album Nightcrawler
* Listen to the Once soundtrack. Over and over and over again
* Read. Read a lot.

* Water for Elephants
* Eat, Pray and Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia
* On Beauty
* Evening
* Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis**

* The Bodies Exhibition
* Outdoor Decemberists concert at Millennium Park in Chicago
* The Met
* Watching movies (like Once) and reading
* Waiting for Michigan sunsets like this--

Such a lovely trip. But now we're back to the grind. I know how much fun looking at other peoples' vacay pictures is. So they are linked at my shutterfly. Enjoy.

*For the sake of full disclosure, we know the owners but I know everyone would have a great experience!
** Okay, we actually listened to this one.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007
I'm back.

Well, almost. We'll arrive back in Athens on Friday. I've done lots of reading, watching and listening that I want to write about. Also...lots of great food and activities I want to write about.

I'll have pictures.

But until then...read this interview with Elizabeth Edwards. As you all know, I feaking LURVE this lady. She is so fantastic. I want her to run. But I'll settle for her being the next First Lady.

Pay particular attention to her analysis about Hillary Clinton [and her good second wave feminism pitch in the midst]. So many people ask me why Clinton isn't my pick for 08. I struggle with my answer. Edwards articulates it SO much better than I do. All I've been able to get out is "She isn't as left on women's issues as she claims..." And then I start talking about Bill* and centrism in 08**.

Look, I'm sympathetic, because when I worked as a lawyer, I was the only woman in these rooms, too, and you want to reassure them you're as good as a man. And sometimes you feel you have to behave as a man and not talk about women's issues. I'm sympathetic -- she wants to be commander in chief. But she's just not as vocal a women's advocate as I want to see. John is. And then she says, or maybe her supporters say, "Support me because I'm a woman," and I want to say to her, "Well, then support me because I'm a woman." The question is not so much how she campaigns -- that's theater. The question is, what does her campaign tell you about how she'll govern? And I'm not convinced she'd be as good an advocate for women. She needs a rationale greater for her campaign than I've heard. When she announced her candidacy she said, "I'm in it to win it." What is that? That's not a rationale. Same with Senator Obama -- I've yet to hear a rationale. John is extremely clear about what he can accomplish and why he's the one to do it.
* Love him
** Against it

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