25 December 2008

Merry Christmas!

From National Geographic Photo of the Day, which is almost always amazing.

19 December 2008

Covers of the Week

Here are the covers of this week!

First is 1940 by Jay Neugeboren, second is Peace by Richard Bausch. If I'm not mistaken, they're both World War II era novels. I don't know too much about them; I've never heard of either writer and I didn't read the flap copy when we got them in the library. They're not extra fancy, but they are striking images, as well as simple and effective designs.

The New Yorker's "Minimalist Christmas" cover which features Christmas colored Mondrian Squares gets an honorable mention, mainly because Mondrian Squares always make me happy for some silly reason.

Sneezing Panda!

Because why not?

I have watched this video over and over and cannot stop laughing. I love the huge panda looking down incredulously at baby panda.

16 December 2008

Trent Reznor Kicks Ass (Still)

Honestly, I haven't listened to Nine Inch Nails since The Fragile, but I've always been impressed with Trent Reznor's music. To prove how oblivious I've been to new music for the past forever, I'll just say I was shocked to find that NIN has released approximately eleventy-billion albums since The Fragile. Enough babbling. I stumbled across this interview with Trent Reznor, which included this gem of a quote:

They’re full of bullshit. They don’t care about music; all they care about is selling little plastic discs and that’s it. They don’t care if it’s timeless art that’s being put out, as long as they sell that disc—even if it means you wearing your pants backward or whatever it might be. That’s all that matters to them.

I love this for a lot of reasons. First of all, because it's true. It's also nice to see someone who has the power to take even a little bit of control away from the behemoth corporations. Lastly, because even though he's talking about record labels, the same can be said of the publishing industry. I highly recommend reading that interview, so you can read Trent Reznor talk about how nerdy he is and encourage you to pirate his DVD.

05 December 2008

Cover of the Week!

This is probably going to be harder than I thought, since I haven't seen a whole lot of cool covers again this week. I'll blame it on another short week though. That being said, I'm still giving you two covers of the week. I know, nonsense!

First is McSweeney's #29, because well, it's pretty, as McSweeney's usually is. Second is The New Yorker again, because dogs are cute and it's funny and they're getting a puppy and if I need to explain why I think it's funny then what the F.

Update! Apparently, I jumped the gun on this post. I just got the daily load of mags and found this gem:

Come on! Even if that picture isn't photoshopped and that really is his body, it's still fucking ridiculous looking.

04 December 2008

Cigarette Books

I haven't had a cigarette in a few years, but still, these are pretty damn sweet if you ask me.

That's just good design by Tank Books!

Gold Cadillac?

If you've never seen Exploding Dog, I suggest you click on that link and blow off any kind of productivity you may have planned.

26 November 2008


Thanksgiving is tomorrow, so in the spirit of the holiday, I'm going to go ahead and do a short list of stuff I'm thankful for.

1: The Internet- Of course! Who could've guessed we'd have this much access to information about anything and everything? Sure the internet allows us to remain connected to our family and friends and all that, but the true genius of the internet is stuff like puppy webcams (You gotta click that, for serious). That and being able to watch any Michael Jackson video whenever you want.

2: Dinosaurs- Just because.

3: The Great Gatsby- Seriously, I think more of my outlook has been shaped by this book than I could have imagined. Every time I see these great big, old New England houses here, I'm reminded of the references and characterizations of new/old money in the novel. Plus, it has that amazing ability to envelope you within it, that quality that all really good writing has to provide that comfort of simply knowing the next word, phrase, sentence, and so on will be perfectly placed. (Joyce's "The Dead" also does this, probably more so).

4: Civil War week!- Yep. This Saturday is the Civil War game between University of Oregon and Oregon State University. Even when I went to OSU, I wasn't that into the Civil War rivalry, but then some middle-aged lady with UO flags on her car gave me the finger on I-5 after seeing my OSU hat. Since then I've been pretty into it, yep. Not to mention, OSU wins and the Beavers go to the Rose Bowl! GO BEAVS!

5: Them people that love me- Of course. This is a no brainer. But my parents fly into Boston today, and Rachel and I will be cooking for them, cause they're awesome parents. Rachel is the awesomest girl in the history of everything. All my friends and family, believe it or not, I love you all.

24 November 2008

LIFE photo archive

In an attempt to make me totally unproductive, Google has made the LIFE photo archive available via Google's image search. Go to this page to search the archives. Pretty much every picture there is amazing. I've spent a good portion of my morning browsing through the photos, but this is one of the most fantastic pictures I've found so far.

The photo's caption reads: Jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald performing at "Mr. Kelly's" nightclub w. audience dimly visible in bkgrd. I found it while looking for pictures of F. Scott Fitzgerald, of which I found many. I'm sure it's only one of many that will eventually find it's way onto this site.

22 November 2008

Cover of the Week!

My plan to do a weekly Friday post on the best covers from my librarianizing failed this week because there was a serious lack in well-designed magazines and books to come across my desk. Sad. So in an attempt to keep this thing going, I'll just point out some cool new hardcover books.

These purty things are designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith for Penguin books. More info on the awesome Book Design Review blog, and more pictures on Penguin's flickr site.

19 November 2008

Everything's Amazing, Nobody's Happy.

Mostly the barrage of videos is a result of my discovering Fark.com's video links.

Of course a comedian can provide some perspective.


Rachel and I have recently been watching a few episodes of Animaniacs. Yeah! I remembered their song with 50 states and capitals and the one with the nations of the world. However, I didn't remember this until I came across it today after a bit of boredom induced internetting. I love these silly educational songs, but the end of this song was a bit surprising to me.

Very educational!

18 November 2008

Stand by Me!

Because sometimes you just need a little pick me up, right?

from www.playingforchange.com

16 November 2008

Writing Sucks. Nike Too. Sorta.

I should be reading and writing for class right now, but somehow my short-short story class has managed to suck out the pleasure of writing. Wah wah wah.

On an entirely different note. I can't stand Nike. Part of it has to do with the amazing prices Nike charges for just about everything. Another part of it is Nike's desire to make EVERYTHING ugly (for example, their college basketball Unis, which they've dubbed "System of Dress"). However, Nike still does a few things that bring me small pleasure. One of those wonderful things is continuing to make University of Oregon look ridiculous.

This is UO's latest uniform combination, and yes, those are wings. I'll admit, I kinda like the black helmets, but really, wings? At least it looks like one of those guys liked them.

The other thing I like? This commercial.

Woo! That's good storytelling.

14 November 2008

Cover of the Week! New Yorker!

I've written before about my love for good cover design, so I have to admit I have been very pleased by this week's cover of The New Yorker. With every other magazine plastering giant photos of Mr.Obama's face on their covers, I appreciate the more minimalist approach here. That's just a solid piece of artwork with more than a touch of timelessness, an homage to the past while celebrating the hope for the future. The image and effect is haunting in a good way, and I haven't been able to get it out of my head. Also, The New Yorker has made the full issue available online HERE! I especially recommend James Wood's close reading of Obama's victory speech, in which he says Nov. 4 was "a very good night for the English language."

On a different note, I like this idea of a "Cover of the Week." Maybe I'll make this a recurring Friday thing, finding the best book or magazine covers I come across during my week of librarianerizing.

09 November 2008

Thoughts on the Election

I said I would write more once the election passed, so here I go. I can't, however, let the election pass without saying anything about it. I voted for Barack Obama, so needless to say I was very pleased with the results. What I didn't expect was such a personal, emotional response. Maybe I didn't want to think forward to what an Obama victory would mean as a way of shielding myself from the possibility of a letdown. Obviously that didn't happen.

I watched the election results at home with Rachel. A friend of mine had mentioned the possibility of an election party, and for awhile I thought that could be fun, but in the end I was more than happy to be at home with Rachel. The emotional response of watching normally composed pundits transition into giddy, rosy-goggled rhetoric, the tears of Jesse Jackson, and the concession speech/return of the real John McCain who I wish had shown up at the beginning of the campaign run, it seemed that with these and all the other images and words of election night, and the crescendo of Obama's victory speech, made me and everyone else feel their emotions more acutely. After thinking about the multiple meanings behind Obama's election (I say thinking because I'd be lying if I said I have fully realized or understood what this all means), I was sure that I wanted to be nowhere else than with her.

Tears have been everywhere following the election. They showed up in the giant Grant Park victory party, on the TV screens, in living rooms, on the trains to work. As I said, I can't begin to explain what this all really means, but I can say that Obama's election has forced me to imagine a different world. While there may not be any tangible change yet - George Bush is still president, our economy still sucks, plus a never-ending list - there has been an emotional shift. Possibility is a reality. Yes, children will probably believe they can become anything they want. Yes, people working off student loans (like myself) might fully understand what they are working for.

I look forward to a Barack Obama presidency not with rosy-eyes or believing that he'll fix the whole world. I do however, believe he will be a good president and a great role model. What we have in him is a man who doesn't conform to stereotypes. A wonderful role model as a father, husband, and person. My complaint about the talking heads' discussions of Obama is that they too often jumped to the importance of electing a black man while neglecting to note that America elected a man that just happens to be black. For all the people for whom the issues trumped Obama's race, there are all the other people for whom Obama's race never entered the discussion.

I look forward to a Barack Obama presidency because to me, he has proven his ability to be a leader through his writing, his thinking, and his understanding of the law. During the debates with Hillary Clinton and John McCain, his willingness to say "That's the right answer" to Clinton and "John is absolutely correct" illustrates a simple, seemingly overlooked fact: that he was listening. Speaking of why his skill as a writer/orator are important, Michael Chabon said it best:

Ultimately words were all we had; that writing and oratory, argument and persuasion, were the root of democracy; that words can kill, or save us; something along those lines. "You can only say what you can first imagine," as I heard Tobias Wolff (the short-story master, not the Obama campaign adviser) explain to a group of people at an Obama fund-raiser. It was a mark of Obama's fitness to lead, to me at least, that he possessed sufficient natural reserves of imagination to kick oratorical ass.

I believe in him simply because of his speech, "A More Perfect Union," regarding Jeremiah Wright and racism in America. I have listened to this speech over and over for the past few days or weeks, and it is impressive in so many ways. For everyone who says he's all style and no substance, I suggest listening to the speech again and notice the style is the substance. Unlike most politicians, he took that opportunity to raise the dialogue about racism in the country, asking people to recognize truths they may have been reluctant to face. He didn't force you to do anything, he asked you, the same thing he's been doing throughout his run and in his victory speech. It also showed his status as a constitutional scholar. He understands the law, its changes, and its legal and social ramifications. Listen to the speech here.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, I believe in him because of of the campaign infrastructure he built. His campaign resembles a more modern, glorified version of the grassroots NAACP structure, a structure that relied on people getting involved, being selfless, and caring about a greater good. This carried Barack Obama to victory the same way it carried the civil rights movement. This is important because it gave power to the people, and now he must serve the people because, should he fuck up, the people have the power to tear him down as quickly as they built him up.

All of this hope for a new future of possibility is unfortunately tainted by the fact that three states voted to ban gay-marriage, and another state passed a law banning unmarried couples from adopting children under the knowledge that same-sex couple cannot marry. That's right, in 2008, on the same day a country elected a black man, some of those same people voted to revoke rights from a group of people.

31 October 2008


Happy Halloween everyone! I love Halloween because people dress and do fun stuff. Occasionally people pass on the "Slutty (fill in the blank)" costumes and do something creative too. Anyway, these "Thriller" videos are my small bloggy celebration of Halloween. Now, anytime you might be reminded of how absolutely crazy MJ is now, remember, he made "Thriller." (Dave Chappelle's "Thriller Defense" should apply to everything).

Awhile ago, this video showed up on the internet:

Now this, a video of some dude recording an acapella version of "Thriller":

found on Geekologie.

And of course, the original is online here!!!

Update! Apparently the Huffington Post did the same thing with some other videos. Click here to see!

29 October 2008


This is why Shorpy is awesome.

And you can order prints! Rachel and I have this poster in our apartment.

07 October 2008


Yes, I haven't written here in awhile, and I keep saying I'll be back, sometime. I'm sure I realized it before, but maybe never really admitted it until I read my friend Andrew's blog post: I don't want to write here because all that's going on is the election. At work, we keep receiving books about the 24 hour news cycles and the media's role in politics/elections and how they've clogged the channel that used to bring people actual information. Anyway, I expect I'll write a lot more in a month. Now that is hard to believe: election day is less that one month away. Yes, I am taking the election seriously and attempt to keep myself informed, but I'm burnt out. I'm sure a lot of people are too. Plus, it gets a lot harder to take this whole thing seriously when only one party seems to be think this election deserves to be treated as the significant, historical event that it is. The whole situation is depressing, and at times I feel as if I'm teetering on the edge of breakdown.

That being said, there are happier things going on, like Nina Katchadourian's sorted books.

19 September 2008

Pirate Day, Funny Ads, Nice Pictures

Today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Pirates are cool and all, but I'm not celebrating because pirates have been ruined for me ever since I heard the lady who started Talk Like A Pirate Day tell my lit. class about how she wanted to be present for her husband's vasectomy because she thought he and the male doctor would simply go into the O.R. and joke about the fast one they pulled on the old ball and chain. Those were her words.

So instead, I'll just show you something I found funny. Energizer (the battery company) has a sense of humor, and they're not afraid to show it in this ad.

More of these funny funny things can be seen here.

Also, if you like looking at pretty pictures, check out Boston.com's Big Picture.

17 September 2008


I haven't been writing here much, but I will soon. In the meantime, enjoy this:

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

More cool stuff here.

02 September 2008

New Books

Marilynne Robinson's new book, Home was released today. Buy it. Buy it because Robinson can write, because her last novel Gilead nabbed her a Pulitzer, because her novel before that, Housekeeping, was just as good, and because damnit you should be reading good books.

Rachel and I were talking about this trend in people not reading anymore, but when we take the train anywhere, people are packed like sardines with their ipods in their earholes and books in front of their eyeholes. This is just another reason cities should have better mass-transit (coughSeattlecough): reduce traffic, reduce pollution, create jobs (?), lotsa other stuff, oh, and people might read a little bit. Maybe that's just a side-effect of all the schools here in Bostonia, but anyone who's been to college will tell you going to school doesn't necessarily make you a reader.

Also, issue #28 of McSweeney's Quarterly Concern was released a week or so ago, with eight tiny, separate books that fit together to make two gorgeous pictures. The best part: each book contains an illustrated fable. This only makes me want a nice copy of Aesop's Fables even more.

20 August 2008

My Thoughts on Summer in Boston

Boston is much prettier when it's covered in snow. It's also smells better. Seriously, when it's sunny, Boston Common smells like shit.

18 August 2008

Neat Books!

Awhile ago I wrote about the Penguin Classics deluxe edition of Kafka's Metamorphosis. Well I've just finisihed the Penguin Classics version of Candide, and I'll say that it trumps Metamorphosis in book illustration and design. (I won't compare the translations or the stories themselves, because really, I just don't want to.) This picture doesn't show the nice detail of gold leaf in the center of the cover, and even though you can see the cartoon strip of the story's plot, you can't see nice little cast of characters on the inside flap. My favorite part of the cover though, is the very back, which reads "The Satirical Scourge of 1759 - Now in Paperback!" around a stick figure of jolly old Candide. Rachel picked up One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, which, with its foreword by Chuck Palahniuk and illustrations by Joe Sacco, paired with Ken Kesey's novel, is a neat sort of trifecta of Oregonians. I support that. That puts the count of these Penguin editions up to three in the Rachel-Patrick household, and that number may be on the rise soon.

12 August 2008

Library Book: The Art of the American Snapshot

It's been awhile, but that's not my fault. Blame it on the library not ordering many interesting books. We did, however, just receive The Art of the American Snapshot, 1888-1978. I'm sure I've said before that I like pretty pictures, and of course this book is full of them. The best part about this book is what makes it different from most other photography books: like the title says, these photos are snapshots. It's not full of artsy pictures from pro photographers, but instead it shows normal people taking pictures of themselves, their friends, and their families, just like everyone on Facebook and Flickr now. The chapters are broken down by decades, and you can see the cultures changing simply by looking back at these pictures. You'll see it in the clothes the people wear in the photos, and it's even as if you can see the attitudes changing as time progresses. You'll see a strange sense of discomfort mixed in with the humor of the 1950s, like two women sunbathing with gasmasks on. Then in the 1960s it seems that discomfort is gone, and, we are greeted by someone's grandmother enjoying her birthday cake with a smile and a monolithic middle-finger. Worth checking out for its cultural eyewitness factor and, of course, lots of pretty pictures.

11 August 2008

This Just In...

American politics has been reduced to a VH1-esque top ten countdown. Today's headline: 7 worrisome signs for Obama. Basically Gleen Thrush's story tells us that there's a presidential election race between Barack Obama and John McCain, in case you didn't know. Has our OCDish quest for knowledge become so bad that we needed someone to tell us what we already know?

10 August 2008

Lazy Weekend

I finally got myself the digital SLR I've been wanting for so long, but I haven't really had much time to play with it. I have however, taken some pictures around the house and whatnot (I also used it at a baseball museum exhibit, but I'll spare you those pictures). Anyway, it being a Lazy Sunday and all, I figured I'd take a few pictures. Turns out today was a pretty good day for that.

Last weekend Rachel and I went to a crazy antique mall, where we found a first edition of Pearl S. Buck's The Patriot, a crazy set of plates and teacups with triangles on them, and these literary lowball glasses.

Those are great, and they also go with these crazy lowball glasses.

There is something nice about having glasses like this on the rare occasion I need some whiskey to aide my writing.

Rachel cut some flowers and colorfied our kitchen.

The crazy part about today is that it was a beautiful clear day for most of the day, and then later it turned into a beautiful thunderstormy day. I love our back porch, the view of the houses and clouds it provides, and the funny little birdhouse Rachel and I got. Well, I was waiting for some birds to come visit our little house, and even though I scared them all away, I got some nice pictures of what is becoming a normal day in this summer.

Early in the day.

And late in the day.

In Oregon and Washington I joked that the weather there was bipolar, but seriously, this is getting crazy here. Sunny and 75 one minute, lightning, thunder, and rain the next. Although, lightning storms are pretty cool.

08 August 2008

Olympics in China

I've never been excited about the Olympics, not that I can remember. What I do remember though, is Greg Louganis hitting his head on the diving board in 1988. The reason I saw that is because my family was gathered in my Auntie Helen's living room watching those Olympics. I may have been too young to realize it then, but now it's clear to me that the Olympics then were an Event, capital E. Sure, I saw Kerri Strug carried off with a busted ankle in 1996, but even then it was because some cousins were at my house and had monopolized the TV. Since then, the Winter and Summer games have passed with very little notice. Really the only news to me was that U.S. Men's Basketball actually had some competition and Shaun White started kicking snow and skateboarding ass the way we all expected him to. Unfortunately, I didn't see Derek Redmond helped across the finish line by his father until VISA chopped it into marketing material.
(Sorry about the video quality, but it was the only one I could find without Creed music). If you can watch that without tearing up even a little, you're probably dead inside.

For some reason though, I'm pretty excited about these Olympics (even though NBC will decide which sports we want to watch), and it's not just because the U.S. Olympic team is looking rather dapper for the opening ceremony (which they do). There really is a simple explanation for my interest (and a bunch of other people's too): these Olympics are in China. As many people have written, maybe it's right that the Olympics in China feels so wrong. Also, as much as I'm getting sick of ESPN and it's barrage of "news," ESPN page 2 writer Jim Caple's article about the Beijing Olympics points out that the Summer Games could and should put China's faults into the world spotlight. To be sure, a lot of other writers have made the same claim, but I linked Caple's story because of this quote:

And not to sound like an apologist for China's government, but before we get too high and mighty with our moralizing, we should pause to look in the mirror. Yes, China's policies in Tibet and Darfur are contemptuous. Then again, there are many U.S. policies and actions that draw international ire, as well.

While that isn't the most damning critique of some current U.S. policies, this was one of the few articles I found that didn't seem to blast China and praise the U.S. He does expand on it, but I'll let you read it for yourself if you want, and I think you should. I don't know if it's possible, but there is something about the controversy about these games that has me feeling the world might witness another Tommie Smith moment, a moment where an athlete or athletes uses the world spotlight to take a stand and send a political message. Of course I'll watch for the sports, because in all sports, anything can happen, but I'll also be hoping to see someone send their message.

04 August 2008

Because Writing is About "I"

The August 3 edition of the New York Times magazine's "On Language" section featured a story titled "Me, Myself and I," by Caroline Winter. Winter's story is interesting because honestly, how often have you thought about the reason we capitalize this one letter? She points out "There’s no grammatical reason for doing so, and oddly enough, the majuscule 'I' appears only in English*," and "the solitary 'I' towers above 'he,' 'she,' 'it' and the royal 'we.'” Of course she goes on to explain that whole transition from spoken language to a written form and those silly Old and Middle English times where really anything passed for written language. She even throws in some sociological and political affects of the capital "I." Personally, I found the article interesting when Winter hits on the narcissistic value of the monolithic "I," because the act of writing is in itself a pretty self-centered act. I won't argue that writing can never be selfless, but I tend to agree with Margaret Atwood's claim that "all writing of the narrative kind, and perhaps all writing, is motivated, deep down, by a fear of and a fascination with mortality." So yes, for me, writing is an almost entirely selfish act, almost, because I want of that weird haunt of mortality and the desire to have something outlast my days. And narcissistic too, because maybe I believe that you really wanted to read this.

*I could be wrong, but I think Winter may have neglected the Russian Language, who I think does capitalize their form of "I."

x-posted at Vernacular.

30 July 2008

A Moment of Musical and Lyrical Genius

My "Prince" Pandora station is pretty awesome. It gives me basic nonstop Prince, Michael Jackson, and Marvin Gaye. Then it throws in Terence Trent D'Arby, which isn't so bad, and "Bad Mamma Jamma," which even without its funkitude is pretty good for a much needed laugh, since I basically listen to Pandora at work. Well today my Prince station opened up my world to the lyrical stylings of T-Pain. Here's a sample from the song it played, "Bartender."

Ooooh, she made us drinks, to drink
We drunk 'em, Got drunk
And then I think she thinks I'm cool
She gave me a wink, I winked back
And then I think that, we headed out something proper like...

I like the bartender
Ooooh, If you're lookin' for me
I'm at the bar with her

So this song has probably been out for awhile, and I'm just showing how out of touch I am. I'll have to admit though, while I normally reject a song I don't like as soon as possible, I did decide to listen to the whole song before I gave it the "thumb down of death." There was too much potential for hilarity, and it didn't disappoint.

On a totally unrelated but sort of related note - yeah I know, I'm tired ok - there are the likes of Jurassic 5 who, way back when, gave out grammar lessons while proclaiming their own hip-hoppitude. As "Quality Control" goes, J5 is "the most celebrated for connecting it (Word!) Like verb subject to the predicate." The song even goes on to say, "You gots to get up on your vocab, you gots to have vocab.
Letters makes words, and sentences makes paragraphs."

Who says rappers don't care about the kids. He's practically telling kids to read! Well, that's how I'll choose to see it anyway.

22 July 2008

Colorful Library

Part of my job includes sometimes processing books, which involves putting on those pesky call number labels which are just kind of ugly. In true nerdy form, I sometimes feel like I'm defacing books when I put the call numbers on. I will however, admit that sometimes I really don't care, like when I'm putting labels on books where I'd just like to cover up the whole book (The Uncommon Wisdom of Oprah Winfrey). Anyways, this can get pretty boring at times. One thing that could help is if we started putting call numbers on books this way:


Ok, well, maybe my job wouldn't be a whole lot more fun, but the end product would be much more aesthetically pleasing right? More pictures and info here - Yanko Design: Don't Judge a Book By Its Color.

10 July 2008

How Long Until "Burn Notice" Goes Up In Flames?

While eating lunch at Emerson's cafe, facing the window and looking out on the sidewalk, I noticed a guy standing in an empty parking spot. He dismissed three cars attempting to parallel park there in less than 5 minutes. My initial thought was, "Ok, this is probably one of the many Emerson students who need to drop off video, audio, or other production equipment." It happens enough to expect that. So when a white van pulls up and 5 girls and 2 guys wearing rollerskates jump out, a little confused. They stand around, handing out frisbees, blocking the sidewalk, pretending it's not already difficult to move in front of the Emerson College buildings. When a blind man tried to walk past them, you would have thought they were the idiots who couldn't see a thing. So what's this all about, you ask? Burn Notice. Now, I'm not oblivious to current "creative" advertising methods, and I'm not any kind of prude - I think women can go ahead and dress how they want - but isn't there some kind of creeper-factor to have a bunch of girls who aren't old enough to vote rolling around in Daisy Dukes and tube-tops, carrying huge bags of frisbees to give away with "Burn Notice" plastered all over everything? And with guys who at least appear 10 years older? And all this in the name of Burn Notice?

You might be saying to yourself, "But that's Don Johnson from Miami Vice," and you would be correct. Judging from the previews, commercials, and print ads I've been assaulted with since "Mr.Burn Notice" began wearing summer suits, the only difference is the replacement of Tubbs (pictured) with some generic looking female...um...partner? If you can't tell, all these Burn Notice advertisements have only made me want to watch Miami Vice.

08 July 2008

Back to School & The Principles of Uncertainty

Yesterday I had my first class of my summer term. I should have definitely have expected to have story collections to read along with the workshop stories, but I didn't, and there will definitely be some story collections to read. Unfortunately, this means an even bigger hindrance to my slow trudge through The Brothers Karamazov. I'm a slow reader, and The Bros K proved to be an even slower read than usual because it forced me to read differently. I've already gone on about Mr. Dostoyevsky's wonderful work longer than I planned.

The real focus of this post was supposed to be this: Maira Kalman's The Principles of Uncertainty. I needed a short break from The Bros K when I found out about this book in the I.D. Magazine annual review issue. The book is beautiful and personal, and at times it feels honest and vulnerable, like someone decided to reveal their secret diary to the world. For information and pictures of the book, visit Book By Its Cover. To see the contents of the book, visit Kalman's New York Times blog by the same name. Even though you can see and read the whole thing there, book lovers will appreciate the feel of holding the book in your hands while soaking in the words, paintings, and vast range of emotions in such short spans.

Back from New York

Hi. Returned. We were able to see it.

03 July 2008


Rachel and I are off to New York for the weekend. Hopefully we'll be able to see this:

More info here.

30 June 2008

Library Book: George Flett

I don't know much about George Flett, and in fact hadn't heard of him until checking in George Flett: Ledger Art for the library. This book comes in a blue canvas box, and all of the artwork is gorgeous. Check it out.

This book is every bit as beautiful as the artwork inside. I don't have much else to say about it, but take a look at the book and his artwork, and they'll all speak for themselves I'm sure.

29 June 2008

Fan Love

Boston fans love their sports teams, just in case you didn't know. I did know, but I was still a little surprised when I passed this little scene celebrating the Celtics recent NBA Finals victory on my way to work:

Sorry about the awful picture. Clean windows on sunny days aren't usually very conducive to photographing, though I do kind of like seeing Tremont Street and Boston Common across the street.

Anyways, how about that? I'd love to see the wedding where the bride chooses a makeshift tube-top celebrating her favorite team's recent championship. However, I think she could get in on the act too. I mean, the Celtics have white jerseys.

24 June 2008

Stairs = Shelves

So I spent a decent amount of time looking at blogs today at work, instead of, you know, doing actual work. Anyways, during that time I happened to stumble across this little bit of awesome amazingness, courtesy of Geekologie:

That's pretty damn sweet. I also like the tabbed stairs. While it might get annoying should you be stumbling half-asleep up or down those stairs, I think the tabs are a very nice touch. Plus, how could you walk anywhere near those stairs and not be totally amazed at them? Right. So I'm pretty sure you'd never be drowsily navigating them.

If you didn't click on the Geekologie link, I suggest you do it. Not only does it include more pictures, but it includes a link to a bookshelf fort. Yes. That's right, fort.

20 June 2008

Perks of the Job / The "ew" List

Some days my job can be pretty boring, like when I'm killing time filling in Tables of Contents for marketing books. On other days though, like today, the job just throws interesting things at me all day. First, I spent a good portion of the morning reading I.D. Magazine. This magazine was so interesting that it will get its own post in a day or so.

After running around, researching marketing stuff (in 2007, 1,486,836 Bostonians owned DVD players), and doing other biblioteque-ish stuff, I got today's serials. Being in charge of serials is pretty fantastic when someone accidentally sends two copies of Zoetrope: All Story, which is a fantastic magazine. Mark Mothersbaugh of Wes Anderson movies fame, yes plural, is the guest designer, which provides for numerous fantastic paintings and a funny rambling rant about design.

Also, this job allowed me to read Entertainment Weekly without dropping the $4 or whatever it is (technically, I was getting paid to read it, now that's a perk!) This issue focuses on what they called "The New Classics." This is an attempt to tell us what the best movies, albums, books, etc. of the past 25 years were, but really it's just a print version of VH1's "Top 100 (blank)". Regardless, lists are fun because they automatically trigger most people's agree/disagree switches, myself included. Here are my highlights and lowlights:

Best TV shows - Really, I was just happy to see Freaks and Geeks make the list at number 13. If you've never seen it, check it out. Judd Apatow knows what's up, and like The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Anchorman, etc, Freaks and Geeks is proof. Freaks and Geeks shows that Apatow knew how to create real, interesting people from the very get go. Some of those faces look familiar, yes? Also, Arrested Development comes in at 16 and Saved by the Bell at 100.

Best Albums - Now this, I can totally get behind. Number 1 album of the past 25 years: "Purple Rain!" Purple Rain! Yes! Listen to that album, and I dare you to not go crazy when Prince says "Let's Go Crazy!" Lots of people joked that Prince's Super Bowl halftime show was stupid, but remember how a whole stadium of people who weren't there to see Prince sang along with him and his guitar during Purple Rain? Right. "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" comes in at number 2, which is pretty bold only because I expected to see Thriller there, but Lauryn Hill seems like a decent choice. I liked seeing Kanye West's "The College Dropout" at number 4, but I have a hard time with that being ranked so high but Dr. Dre's "The Chronic" is 66. Seriously? The College Dropout doesn't happen without The Chronic coming before it. No way. Also, "Siamese Dream" at 91? That's a perfect album. Perfect. Starting with the album's opening drumroll, through the peaks and valleys of guitar and Billy Corgan's vocals, to the last note, every twist, turn, and sound is perfectly orchestrated.

Best Books - Of course I'm going to have a gripe with this category, though I shouldn't have expected much from Entertainment Weekly. Their website says it all: "ew" dotcom. Number 1 is The Road. I've never read it, but I've heard it's not even Cormac McCarthy's best book. The Goods: Stephen King's On Writing (21), Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies (39), Lois Lowry's The Giver, and John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany (73). I for one think all of these books should be higher, but especially Owen Meany. The Bad: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson ranked at 85. Really? 85? Maybe the good people at "ew" were distracted by that gold sticker on the cover. (Though, to be fair, both The Road and Interpreter of Maladies also won the Pulitzer, but Gilead is better than every book I've listed here.

Best Movies - Now that I've gotten worked up about Gilead, I feel like making this brief. Pulp Fiction is number 1, which is kind of stupid. I was happy to see Rushmore at 22 and Waiting for Guffman at 79.

That's that. Other funny things from the issue include Rainn Wilson dressed as Xena. I later checked in new books, of which included The Branding of MTV: Will Internet Kill the Video Star? by Paul Temporal. Sorry Mr. Temporal, I'm afraid MTV killed the video star. Also, McSweeney's again publishes a pretty book, with One Hundred and Forty-Five Stories in a Small Box (pictured), with three collections by Deb Olin Unferth, Dave Eggers, and Sarah Manguso. What this picture doesn't show is the beautiful gold leaf highlights. When I publish my book (that's right I said "when!"), I hope it's beautiful like some of the McSweeney's books and journals.

14 June 2008

Father's Day

More and more as I've gotten older I've found myself increasingly seeking out and rummaging through bookstores. I've never been sure as to why I find such pleasure in bookstores, but the more I think about it, the more I'm sure it's because of my father. I've never known a lot about my dad, and it wasn't until the past few years that I've become close to him in any way. We never did any of that stereotypical father/son stuff like playing catch and him showing me how to hit a baseball; I have three older brothers who took care of that. Only two nuggets of advice from him come immediately to mind. First, he told me that smoking is the most awful thing a person can do to his body, and that I should never ever start. This one came after I'd been smoking for a few years. (I should say though, that though I didn't recognize it then, his approach to the rhetorical situation was fantastic, and I can't imagine I could've realized that then, before all those writing center/writing pedagogy classes and meetings I've been through; he told me a story about how when he tried smoking as a kid, he couldn't concentrate on anything, especially not hitting a baseball. It just messed up his hand-eye coordination. He told me this when I was in high school, when the one thing I did most of the time and enjoyed most of all was playing baseball, which I did a lot. That's just good parenting). Second, he told me I should always open the door for a lady. "Just do it, because you're supposed to," he'd said. Again, good parenting.

Anyways, back to the book thing. My dad is kind of an awkward person. Ever since I got too big for him to play-wrestle with, I started to notice his awkwardness. He doesn't seem to know what to do with himself when we're out in public most of the time, and he'll get lost in his own world, pacing back and forth no matter where he is. (This kills my mom. She absolutely cannot stand this). There are two places, however, where my dad seems always at peace*: in his designated chair in my parents' living room and in bookstores. 99.9% of the time he's in his chair, he's accompanied by a beer and a book. When we moved from Hawaii to Washington, I discovered Barnes and Noble (no, there were no B&Ns on Oahu then), and my dad could get lost in there for hours. Sometimes I'd go run around with my mom while he was alone in there, other times I'd stay in the bookstore and shop for myself. Shopping for anything with my dad was impossible, but he could never say no to buying me books. ("Sorry son, I don't want you to read!") I think it made him kind of proud to see me reading, even if what I was reading was garbage (and it was - for awhile I read crazy science fiction about ghosts ruling the world and stuff like that, with no allegory for anything).

Now, I can't go into a bookstore and not think of my father. I don't think he's the reason I became an English major or want to become a writer, but for me there will always be a connection between my father and the general idea of books.

*I have to write this, because it is necessary. I absolutely love the way my dad has aged. He has absolutely eased into the role of the grandpa. Now that he has grandkids, (and my cousin's daughter) to be around, he has become a giant kid. Sure, he still has awkward moments, but not with the kids around. Children LOVE my dad, probably because he can be a grown-up child without trying. I hope I can manage that as I get older (Rachel does a fantastic job of helping me maintain a childlike joy while becoming somewhat of a grownup, plus she appreciates her beer and books as well so she gets along famously with my father. How awesome is that?)

08 June 2008

Library Book

One of the perks of my job at the Emerson College Library is that I'm the first person to see all the new books we receive. Every so often we get really cool books that I probably wouldn't otherwise know about. The first* featured book is:

War Posters: Weapons of Mass Communication by James Aulich.

Yes. I love books with pictures. I also love when art is used to reach out to people and at least attempt to change the way people think about important topics, in this case war (obviously). Aulich gives equal time to both propaganda and anti-war posters such as these Uncle Sam images.

Most of the better images are from France and the Soviet Union, but I didn't take pictures of any of those. I did, however, take a picture of a more recent poster.

I have to say, the older posters are much more clever.

*This is actually the second featured library book. The new Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition of Kafka's Metamorphosis was first brought to my attention when I checked one in for the library.

06 June 2008


I'm currently looking for a new apartment. I've seen a billion pictures of different apartments in Boston it seems, and I've recently come across this photo:

I'm not sure why, but I actually kinda like the stack of books and just the table in the middle. Very neat.

*This post is a total copy of A Cup of Jo's "Home Inspiration" posts, only completely less cool.


Rachel is an incredible Minesweeper expert. I am totally awestruck and jealous, and now addicted.