Sunday, November 27, 2005

As We Recover...

As we recover from the Thanksgiving food overload and general giving of thanks and appreciation, I can almost hear the clanking of the chains dragging my roller coaster car to the top of the big first hill. If all of the proposed engagements for December hit, I will be having a very busy couple of months.

Busy as in no sleep 'til March. Busy as in Oh my gosh I've got myself into something this time.

The only thing worse than working all the time is not working all the time. The not working bit is coming to an abrupt end. Fortunately, for the first time in a long time, I at least have managed to get a little vacation in right before the deluge hits. Cross your fingers, and I'll see you all in March.*

*That doesn't mean I'm going to stop posting for three months. I mean, come on, what's more important: sleeping or dumping personal details on the internets?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Media Concentration

THESIS: The copyfight is being fueled in large part by an oligopoly structure within the major media sectors. The search for pricing power rather than the fear of piracy is the motive for DRM and anti-peer network initiatives.

Chart of the top 10 media companies' holdings.

File under: future research topics.


Spanking children is correlated with more aggressive and anxious children. (Reuters)

Not surprisingly, in Thailand, a country where peace-promoting Buddhist
teachings predominate, moms were least likely to spank their children or use
other forms of physical discipline.
In Kenya, on the other hand, where use of physical discipline is common and considered normal for the most part, moms were most likely to spank or engage in similar disciplinary tactics. In a study conducted in Kenya in 2003, 57 percent of grandmothers reported caning, pinching, slapping, tying with a rope, hitting, beating, and kicking as forms of discipline they had used on their grandchildren.
One question the findings raise, according to Lansford, is whether being physically disciplined more frequently causes an increase in aggression and anxiety or whether children who are already aggressive and anxious are simply physically disciplined more often. "On the basis of other work conducted in the United States, the answer is probably some of each," Lansford said.

Those are some tough Kenyan grandmothers.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Kenyon College's Answer to Gawker

Frat parties reviewed in case you didn't make it to all of them.*

Good to see that nothing has changed.

*e.g. if you woke up in a field the next morning after your "punch".

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


The sign on the wall of the public bathroom said,

"Every time you think how embarrassed you will be,
Think instead about how long you will have to be dead."

And underneath there's a tiny tiny dot:

Labelled "Your Life"

And a long line:

Labelled "The Rest of Time"
Which stretches all the way across the room.

Link Roundup

The only good fight is a pillow fight. Pictures from the Toronto flash mob pillow fight. (via boingboing)

"If you don't write your books, nobody else will do it for you. No one else has lived your life."
-Jose Saramago (via Jonathan Carroll)

TRAVELING EUROPE IN STYLE WITH AUCKLAND DINGIROO,DARK-AGE TOURIST AND CRITIC OF FOOD AND DRINK. "There are numerous inns in and around the city that are comfortable and reasonably priced. My favorite is Mon Petit Chou (My Little Cabbage). It is a picturesque cottage along the Seine run by an elderly prostitute named Genevieve."

Cool is for Kids. " I am a middle-aged man dressed in a little Whistles skirt/Monsoon jacket combo and look a bit like an off-duty Duchess of Cornwall. I don’t get many opportunities for leisure trannying these days so I used the occasion of shopping for my wife’s birthday present to don a housewife-up-from-the-’burbs number.

"Now as a rule I would say that if there is one group of people that transvestites need to avoid, it is early-teenage girls."

Monday, November 14, 2005

Tiny Cities

Some albums mustbe purchased as soon as they are seen. All of Mark Kozelek's work is in this category.

The new Sun Kil Moon album Tiny Cities is a luminous reworking of Modest Mouse songs with all of the hallmarks of Mark's artistic sensibility down to the grainy cover art. Each album he does gets a little better as he gets subtly more comfortable with his talents and palette.

Imogen Heap on the other hand is an albnum that you pick up based on hearing a free mp3 on Salon's Audio File. It's got that Frou Frou thing butcoming in from a different angle. Great semi-poppy tracks but the attraction is in the vocals not the backing track.

A world without commas

Last night I opened a bottle of Coke while sitting at my desk. Unfortunately someone had shaken the bottle vigorously before I picked it up. As a result I have lost the ability to type commas on my laptop keyboard. This is not as bad as it sounds. Last night I thought I would have to do without m's n's and spaces. An unacceptable turn of events.

Also for some reason the page down button had developed the capability to initiate a search function within the Firefox browser.

I asked my computer repair-savvy friends how to fix the problem and they recommended that I put the keyboard in the dishwasher and then let it dry for a week. These are the kind of people who grow moustaches for fun and are therefore not to be trusted.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


The last couple of weeks have been a flurry of interviews for me, which is in one sense flattering. In another sense, it's like business travel--not as glamorous as it looks from the outside.

Meanwhile, everyone I know is down with a cold. Maybe they're practicing for the bird flu pandemic.

On the upside, I found a cool little mission-style bookcase, so my reading materials no longer have to live in stacks underneath the desk. Now I just need to find a permanent home for the stacks of clothes currently living on the side table.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Gettin' Twisty

I've been doing a weekly yoga class at Chicago Yoga since the beginning of the year. After coming in with the standard-substandard level of flexibility that comes from a regular running program (tight hamstrings, leading to tight back) and growing up playing lots of tennis (asymmetrical back, shoulder, and arm development), it took a long time to get to a place of reasonable flexibility. Even now, God help me if I show up for class after a night of drinking, or with low potassium or hydration.

With practice, though, I'm occasionally progressing to the more advanced forms of some of the poses. Once, I managed to do Crow Pose, which if improperly done results in an impromptu somersault. This weekend, I pulled off a really nice Extended Side Bend with backward noosed arms. I'd never been able to get my arms around my leg and back far enough before, so something in my shoulders seems to have loosened up nicely.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Truth or Dare?

I'm in the process of filling in a personal profile on a dating site, but it's giving me a lot of trouble. Specifically, how much I need to lie in order to tell the truth.

For example, I'm 6'0", but if I put that down, I always think that people are saying to themselves, "oh, this guy's really 5'11" and trying to fool us with the extra inch," so I tell people I'm 6'1".

Or, if I say I'm in "average" shape, does that mean average for a 35-year old, or a 35-year old in Chicago, or for everybody? Does it sound like I'm actually a "needs a little work", angling for an "average", or should I say "above average" or "well toned"?

Does all of this questioning make me look like a "self absorbed" or "poor body image" when what I really want to be is "well adjusted" or "self confident"?

How much should you lie in a personal ad to account for automatic grade deflation?

Halloween Parade

The Halstead Street Halloween Parade is notable not for its size, but for its blurry outlines. While the main padade went north, occasional clusters of performers, bands, and cars went south along the same route, producing a weird sloshing movement within the parade route itself.

Meanwhile, the question of "who's in costume, and who just dresses funny all the time?" kept coming to mind. Is the guy in the fireman outfit going to a costume party, or just home from work? Is the kid in the floor length overcoat and platform shoes a vampire or just a goth? Is the six foot tall woman next to me a parade contestant, or a drag queen, or a WNBA player in an evening gown? Has the guy in the Santa hat got the wrong holiday, celebrating the release of Jarhead, or is he just trying to keep warm? When we play with identity year round, and eccentrics abound, Halloween is every day.

Trick or Treat.