36 hours

Whenever we head out of town, I usually search the Times for their 36 hours articles about our destination. I find them a good starting point for local dining options, must see museums, whatever. We used the Austin article for a couple of dinner choices, plus for Mt. Bonnell!

Here is the 36 hours for my hometown published earlier this month. It is weird viewing your birth city (and the place I lived for my first 18 years) through the eyes of a tourist.

'Grotesque Figure'

Since I don't have the time or the desire (for now) to synthesize all of my thoughts about Bonds, I will provide some of the better quotes I see for your viewing pleasure. This guy nails it.

True, Bonds is the very worst personality type, the bully who sincerely believes he is a martyr, and we should count ourselves lucky that such a grotesque figure has confined his damage mostly to the baseball diamond. But this is partly what makes him a fascinating study. He is an angry black man who has been deprived of the commercially and even socially acceptable outlets for black anger in American culture, those attitudes that now fly under the banner of hip-hop. As a baby boomer, Bonds is a little too old to play at gangsta; as a product of San Carlos, he's a little too culturally white. When he affects a racially charged attitude, the results are nonsensical. "Hey girl, what's up?" he says into the answering machine of his mistress, a woman he will come to threaten, and in one instance, physically intimidate. "Kim, hey—who is trying to get in on my shit? No niggah's trying to get in on my shit. Don't have me kill a niggah. Ha ha ha—later, girl. I'm on my way to San Diego, but I'm still getting the pussy, ha ha! Welcome to the penthouse!" To a reporter who wanted to ask him about his grand jury testimony, Bonds raised his fist and cried, "Black Power!" - Stephen Metcalf, Slate.com (March 31, 2006)


just checking...

has anybody confirmed that Snow Patrol and The Postal Service are different bands?

What about her and her? Different people? I have never seen them together in the same room so I can't be sure.

I do like Snow Patrol. The obligatory 3 month waiting period is over when I have to pretend I don't like bands that ae discovers. Ross likes them too. Speaking of Ross, The Decemberists???
Are you making that up?


"White America doesn't want him to (pass) Babe Ruth and is doing everything they can to stop him," says Leonard Moore, director of African and African-American Studies at Louisiana State University. "America hasn't had a white hope since the retirement of (NBA star) Larry Bird, and once Bonds passes Ruth, there's nothing that will make (Ruth) unique, and they're scared. And I'm scared for Bonds.

"I think what he'll go through will be 100 times worse than what Aaron went through" when he surpassed Ruth in 1974. "I pray for him every night." - USA TODAY

I, in turn, will pray for you Mr. Moore so that you might stop making such stupid statements. Maybe a quick prayer for LSU, too. Jesus.

More on Bonds later...


Thanks, Chris


NB: updated photo.

endorsing endorsements

I love this commercial. One of my faves of all time. Perfect mix of music, style, action, McEnroe.
The shoes that Mac is wearing in the spot are my favorite pair ever. I only owned one pair back in 1985 (sniff) but have always been on the lookout for them. Nike seems to be coming out with retro styles now, so maybe, just maybe.

I remember being in a tennis shop in Lake George, NY with ae and my cousin Terry and the sales guy was on the phone with his Nike rep saying "So if I was John McEnroe, I wouldn't be able to get a pair? Is that what you are saying?"

I guess that was what he was saying.

'this college town of 210,000 residents' ???

Obviously, not the main thrust of this article, but I was amused at the Times description of my town.

National strike paralyzes France

Jeez, you would think they had been lead to war under false pretenses or maybe had been illegally spied upon by their executive branch. At least those sentiments are at the forefront of political debate in this country. Well, at least on prime time television.


oh, snaaaaaaaap !!!

our travel evolution is complete. Four years ago, we belonged to the group that would only carry- on luggage. If it wouldn't fit in the overhead, we didn't need it. So, our travel gear consisted of mainly beat up duffle bags (orange in color, no less) and large backpacks that we have had since college (mine, still with a sticky pocket from the honey packet that opened while I tried to make a sandwich while I waited for ae to sprint through the Louvre.) Two years ago, on a magical Christmas morning, we joined the ranks of garment bag owners. A big day for us indeed for it marked our giving up all control over our baggage and handing it to the airplance cargo gods. For practice, we allowed strangers to carry our grocery bags to our car for us. Results were mixed. Our big, blue bag holds all kinds of hangupables, but not good for shoes, wine, kitchen sinks, etc. Now we are whole. We will each check a bag and we can pack until our hearts are complete. No more dark brown shoes and shorts for me! And yes, although it is now twice as likely that we will have one of our bags lost on a trip, did I mention that our new baby is friggin' AQUA BLUE!!!!!!!

the happy author with baby

heard in the car...

db: I feel sorry for that band. They are pushing 40 years old and they have not had their big break yet.

ae: I don't think they are that old. I think they are more our age.

db: okay ( long........awkward............pause), I see.


stop playing this ad!

the only problem with watching Pardon the Interruption each evening at 5:30pm is that ESPN insists on showing this stupid Kobe Bryant commercial. If you haven't seen it, it has Bryant in the martyr role as he says:
’Love me or hate me, it’s one or the other. Always has been. Hate my game, my swagger. Hate my fadeaway, my hunger. Hate that I’m a veteran. A champion. Hate that. Hate it with all your heart. And hate that I’m loved, for the exact same reasons.'
No Kobe, we hate you because you raped that woman in Colorado. Nothing more, nothing less.

super cool

"I have a god-like relationship with the world I've created."

The Raconteurs

I like this new band, at least the one song I have heard. For those of you not riding the front wave of all that is hip and cool like your humble author, this is Jack White's (of The White Stripes) new band. ok, I will admit that I came to The White Stripes about 10 years after they broke, but they have been my most consistent choice on my ipod over the last several months. Don't worry, the band is still together, just not this year.

Anyway, keep an eye out for The Raconteurs, and check out their cool, retro website.

Great news, well, except for that one guy...

873 make it off A380 in 90 seconds -- with one broken leg

If things go my way, I will get to fly in the a380 sometime in the near future. I foresee a couple of problems. Because of its size, I doubt it will be making many local runs that we so often (RDU-ATL, RDU-DFW) occupy. Also, I am not sure how many US carriers have ordered them.

I watched the making of a380 on Megastructures a couple of months ago. Truly fascinating tv. They had to build a special airplane just to move parts for the a380 around. And since the plants are scattered all over Europe, when they finally all get to France for final construction, they have to truck them through these small towns in the French countryside where they are literally scraping the walls of ancient buildings and churches. That is going to be tough going when they start building the 150 or so orders they currently have.

But, what is a 2000 year old cathedral to me when I can cram in with 800 other folks in a flying warehouse. True bliss.


I get the hint...

I guess having the heat set at 71 degrees leaves the house a little cool for some people.


Another relaxing Saturday. Early wakeup, which includes dragging ae out of bed much earlier than she is accustomed to. I have never seen such a cranky face. Then a quick stop at Starbucks, then I-40 West to Greensboro. I try to visit my grandmother at least twice a month. I speak to her on the phone at least 3 times a week. To me, she is fun, outgoing, and unpredictable. She can also be mean, accusatory, and selfish. I try not to blame her for much because a. she is 83 b. she has lived by herself for over 10 years c. she survived a near fatal illness 3 years ago d. she is estranged from both her children (my mother and uncle, from whom, in turn, I am now estranged. Uncle and his family, that is, not my mother). My younger cousins, whom I was quite close to growing up, are married and have kids. I have never met their spouses or their children. One cousin actually lives in the greater Austin area (I'm pretty sure). ae and I were talking about how funny it would have been if we would have run into him. Well, not funny ha ha, but..

So, a fairly routine visit this time. Lunch (yaaaay Panda Inn),
Petsmart for multiple bags of cat litter and birdseed (my back!) and then a quick exit around 3 pm so we can get home to the dogs.

We drove home through intermittent rain showers. At around 5 pm, I decided to brave the weather and take the dogs for a walk (ae was watching Malcolm X in the back bedroom). It was a choice decision. In between the rain showers, the light was perfect and the whole neighborhood smelled like dryer sheets. I looped around the block one extra time just to continue the experience.


"A portrait of the blogger as a young plagiarist.."

Read Joe Conason here. (might require a free site pass)

Then below, from today's Washington Post

Posted at 01:17 PM ET, 03/24/2006

Ben Domenech Resigns

In the past 24 hours, we learned of allegations that Ben Domenech plagiarized material that appeared under his byline in various publications prior to washingtonpost.com contracting with him to write a blog that launched Tuesday.

An investigation into these allegations was ongoing, and in the interim, Domenech has resigned, effective immediately.

When we hired Domenech, we were not aware of any allegations that he had plagiarized any of his past writings. In any cases where allegations such as these are made, we will continue to investigate those charges thoroughly in order to maintain our journalistic integrity.

Plagiarism is perhaps the most serious offense that a writer can commit or be accused of. Washingtonpost.com will do everything in its power to verify that its news and opinion content is sourced completely and accurately at all times.

We appreciate the speed and thoroughness with which our readers and media outlets surfaced these allegations. Despite the turn this has taken, we believe this event, among other things, testifies to the positive and powerful role that the Internet can play in the the practice of journalism.

We also remain committed to representing a broad spectrum of ideas and ideologies in our Opinions area.

Jim Brady
Executive Editor, washingtonpost.com

I guess he is a star...

I just noticed that Kottke does not mention SXSW once on his blog. Not once! He gave the keynote address! His only mention of Austin at all is a mention of the weather (he links to Yahoo weather). His co presenter, Heather Armstrong, has tons of posts about SXSW, as does her husband, as does everybody else that was involved.

Quick aside. We are sitting in the Austin Convention Center waiting for the Kottke/Armstrong talk to start and I turn to Ayse and ask "So, who is this Jason Kottke?" Ayse shushes me and says not to say something like that out loud at a blogging conference.

I had never heard of him. Now, he and only he, will choose the books I read.

You guys should check out this cool new site I just discovered called boing something. :)


I just had no idea yesterday evening when I read this that the morning news shows would cover it in the first 5 minutes of the show and while the announcer bloviated, put about 5 minutes of uncut strip club footage on the air. Really unbelieveable!

I guess the next thing you will tell me is that Hooters has a commercial out showing how dumb their waitresses are (they think the price of crab legs is dependent on the customer's weight, not the crab legs) while their "madame" gets frustrated at them. You could tell me that but I won't believe it.


Roger, Wilco

Great. Along with God, flag, and country, you now have to love the rock band Wilco, or be forced to account for yourself. - Slate.com, July 2004

Because I have had no less than 3 friends (Dan, Doug, and Don) say to me in the last 2 weeks "I'm sure you went to the Wilco shows in Chapel Hill" (I didn't), I thought I would at least address the history of my affection for this band. Plus, I am hoping that in some small way this blog will be about music and I have wanted to catalog this history for myself.

I first heard of Wilco back in February 1997. I was watching Headline News. They used to have short entertainment reports at the end of every half hour. They had a short clip about this new band that was labeled "Winona Ryder's favorite band!" Well, I was sold. I headed over to SchoolKids Records, and bought their new double album 'Being There'. The cashier asked if I was going to see the show and handed my a small flyer for the Cat's Cradle, which showed Wilco was playing there the next week. I bought our tickets on the spot.

Ayse, too, has become a fan and has been all over the country with me to see shows, movies, etc.
It's hard to believe they have become so popular. So, for those who care, I have listed the shows we have seen and little tidbits I can remember about each.

2-11-97 (with ae) - Cat's Cradle - Carrboro, NC - first time we saw them. I remember Ayse saying that we didn't have to get there early because it would only be their "uncles and cousins" at the show.
I ripped down the "Sold Out" sign from the door as we were leaving and that sign was posted in various offices of mine throughout the years.

8-15--98(with ae) - Walnut Creek Ampitheater - Raleigh, NC (Newport Folk Festival) - Jeff was cranky for this concert. Didn't seem like he wanted to be there. It was the first time I heard the song
"Another Man's Done Gone".

10-28-99(solo) - Bullwinkles (Headliners) - Madison, WI - Attended this show the night before my parents arrived for their first visit to Wisconsin. The tour bus was parked on the street in front of the bar,
and as I walked by, I waved at Jeff, who waved back. This was the smallest venue I have ever seen them in.

12-31-99(with ae) - Riviera Theater - Chicago, IL - 'End of the Century' show. While playing that song, and that line, concert stopped while aliens took over the stage. Elvis later appeared to sing the Beatles 'Revolution'. Another highlight, Steve Earle opened.

5-13-00(with ae) - Soldier's Field - Chicago, IL - This show was at the end of a Chicago Fire - Coloarado Rapids MLS soccer game. Wilco played in the endzone, facing the south bowl of the stadium. I remember Jeff saying "I always thought we would play Soldier's Field, I just thought we would be facing the other direction".

11-16-00 (solo)- Barrymore Theater - Madison, WI - I walked to this show from my apartment. Walked back in a fairly severe snow storm. Damn Wisconsin.

3-10-01(with ae) - The Knitting Factory - Hollywood, CA (Jeff Tweedy solo show) - This is probably my favorite Wilco event we have witnessed. Solo, all acoustic, debuted some Wilco songs from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. This dude from SNL opened the show and he bombed.

12-5-01(with ae) - El Rey Theater - Los Angeles, CA - Ethan Hawke stood right near us. I walked past him to see how tall he was. He came up to about my neck (I'm 6'2").

10-14-02(with ae) - 9:30 Club - Washington, DC - This was during the sniper shootings in DC. When we jumped in a cab after the show, the cab driver told us that another person had been shot during the show.

9-25-04 (with ae)- Memorial Auditorium - Raleigh, NC - Ran into our friend Paul and his family outside the show. They were attending the ballet next door.

2-19-05 (with ae)- House of Blues - Myrtle Beach, SC - Very loud, very smokey. Had dinner with my family in the HOB restaurant before show. Ayse's bra smelled like smoke when we got home. I told her not to remove her shirt and dance on the bar!

That's it. We are awaiting a new album and a new tour to continue our journey. I am looking forward to it.

medical help?

I just received spam email saying that if you need to go to the bathroom more than 8 times a day, you might need medication for overactive bladder. Well, I currently pee about 379 times a day. should I be worried?

does >$ = pulp?

According to Slate, Dan Brown has revealed all the secrets to being a pulp novelist.
I have been following this case with some interest. I enjoyed the Da Vinci Code and
I am looking forward to the movie in May. I have been aware of a couple of plagiarism/copyright cases in the past that as I read them, seemed like open and shut cases. One involved Billy Joel and his song 'River of Dreams' and the other was about M. Night Shyamalan's movie 'The Village'. They seemed to have faded without incident to either Joel or Shyamalan. hmmmm.

mindful blogging

I've been thinking about the way I see things in relationship to my blog, i.e., do I view events around me through a filter of "can I blog this?" Will I feel pressured at the end of the day to have a post, even though nothing has moved me to write or catalog as such? I took a Mindfulness course last fall in Chapel Hill. A very simplistic summary of the course is that I wanted to be present for more of my life, experience things as they were happening, and stop worrying about the future or regretting the past. We talked, amongst other things, about when walking the dogs, or driving to work, trying to experience what is happening. Pay attention to the dogs and their doggyness, pay attention to what you see/feel/hear while driving. How many times do we drive somewhere and all of a sudden we are at our destination without remembering much about the trip? Well, I have been trying to do this as much as possible. It can be hard, especially when the dog's doggyness includes chasing after birds and wrapping me around a telephone pole! Over the last couple of days, I have noticed that instead of enjoying the drive or the walk,
I have been writing blog posts in my head. Lots of them. So, I will continue to post as I try and figure out a middle ground of existence outside the realm of blog material.
And also within it.


my tummy hurts...

since I got home, I have had the following: 2 cups of trail mix, a habanero bloody mary, 2 pieces of pepperoni pizza, a beer, 4 duplex creme cookies, and a glass of milk. blllleeeaahhhhhh.

I'm coming out!

Well, sort of. Let's face it. It is an extroverts world. Us introverts have a tough go of things. Why do you think we have ipods? Ayse claims to be an introvert. I would like to discuss this with her more, but she is usually heading out the door to meet friends, talking on the phone, hosting dinner parties, etc. I have threatened to take away her introvert's membership card, claiming that I am the true introvert, to which she said "There is a difference between being introverted and being rude!" Ouch. I didn't want to take that personally but I was the only other person in the car. Thanks to the magic of the Internet, I have found help with my struggle to be more extroverted. Sample below or read for yourself.

Suggestions for becoming more extroverted

Here are some additional suggestions for how to become more extroverted:

  • Envision the type of extrovert you’d like to be. What’s your ideal outcome? If you feel too introverted and want to be more extroverted, start by working on your vision of your outcome. Chances are that if you’ve been making little progress in this area, you have a somewhat negative vision of extroverts. When I formed a positive vision of being an extrovert that included building genuine relationships with intelligent people I respect (as opposed to random, shallow socializing), I soon began attracting those relationships. Being a “dumb jock” kind of extrovert still has no appeal to me.
  • Think of relationships in terms of what you can give, not in terms of what you can get. If you seek to build new relationships based on mutual giving and receiving, you’ll have no shortage of friends. Identify people with whom you’d like to build a relationship, and start by giving. I’ve found that my geeky knowledge is actually a tremendous strength when it comes to socializing because there are an awful lot of non-geeks who’d like to understand geeky stuff better, and I can explain it to them in ways they’ll understand. For example, I’ve been teaching some local speaker friends about blogging and web marketing, and in return I’m learning a lot from them about speaking, humor, etc. There are many intelligent people out there who’d love to have a geek as a friend. What can you bring to a relationship that will be of benefit to someone else? When you figure out what that is (and it’s probably many different things), you’ll have an easier time attracting new friends into your life.
  • Find the right social group for you. Consciously consider the types of people you’d want to have as friends. There’s no rule...

cool new photo application

I have been playing around with this new photo service over the last 24 hours. It is in beta testing now, but from everything I am reading, it has all the makings to be the new Flickr. What makes riya different is that it has face recognition software, so you load your photos and it pulls out images and ask you to tag them, so when you load future photos, it will recognize the folks you (and others?) have tagged and automatically update the new photo. Anyway, you ask yourself how I came across such cutting edge technology? ae was on a panel with their online marketing manager. Check them out.



new Coupland out on May 16th!!! Check out this cool new site.


I like Wolcott's verbiage on Sunday's Sopranos:

Dream sequences are a curse on series TV, equal in their artsy-kitschy intrusiveness to ghostly visitations from deleted characters, and perhaps even worse than dream sequences are dream-sequence interpretations, which compels talented critics to smack at every symbol that pops up from the watery unconscious with wooden paddles.

Why can't I write sentences like that? BTW, the episode worked for me.

come fly with me...

I read this article in the Times with interest. I grew up in an aviation household. My grandfather was a vice president with Piedmont Airlines
and my father was a pilot with Piedmont and later with U.S. Airways. I have even logged a few minutes in the cockpit myself. Anyway, I flew on
free passes until I was 21, and then after that, before my father retired, we flew on something called "buddy passes". Airline employees were given
5 or so of these a year that they could give to friends, family, whomever. They cost 10% of the full walk-up fare of a specific ticket. $900 fare = $90 in the
buddy system. Sounds pretty good, huh? The problem is that the seats are not positive. So heading to the airport was never a relaxing experience (was it ever?) because
you had to constantly call a number asking about load numbers before departure, and then once you got to the airport, it was never a guarantee that you would make it on. So you had
to hover around the ticket counter (the agents love that!) to make sure that you were not skipped over for seats. Anybody ever fly standby? You get the picture. When we flew
to Detroit to help my sister move back in 2003 and we had to run through the airport carrying our shoes to try to make a 6:15am flight to Charlotte, we said never again. The buddy system
was soon after discontinued. Good riddance. Check out this book for better aviation stories.
[photo credit: NY TIMES, March 21, 2006]


is this guy backing his car in now, both at work and at home! What does he know that we don't?

slow food

I have a been a fan of this movement since I first heard about it a few years ago. Plus, I dug this book. My own experience
with them has been less than steller. We have tried to contact local chapters several times before we head out on trips (Seattle, SanFran,
Vancouver, Toronto, Key West) with poor results. We usually either do not hear back or the local website is not functioning. My attempts
to contact my local chapter have been met with down right hostility. It was a pleasure to stumble across a local chapter that seems to have
a thriving website and an active calendar. Check them out.


lucky New Yorkers

Trader Joe's opened in Manhattan today. For those of you who don't know, TJ's is a really nice little food store that has great prices and a huge selection. Think a quainter version of Whole Foods (at least the one in Chapel Hill). Ayse was a big fan out in LA, and now we make sure that whenever we are in DC, we swing by the Springfield store. Heck, usually our trip is to TJ's, and we swing by DC. See this in today's Slate.

daily kos

he looked so much taller sitting behind the table.

Eyes are Windows to the (Macbook)Pro

We are seriously considering buying a new Apple Macbook Pro. Having just returned from an international interactive festival, we were deluged with folks pulling out there nice and new and shiny powerbooks and the like. BTW, if you want to bring a room of young and hip techies to their knees, pull out a used, IBM thinkpad. Man oh lord, the looks. Plus, if Ayse is going to get serious about this computer stuff, she needs cutting edge equipment. Anyway, after doing a little research on the web, it seems the big question about the new intel Macs is whether they can run certain programs efficiently, such as Windows XP and Photoshop. I had a look over on Slashdot and it seems like somebody over has mastered the problem, but now it seems that his only proof are some pictures he took that are highly questionable. Not to me, but to the folks on the site. Now, as Slashdot often does, the article is about 5 pages down. So, the question remains, buy now or wait until this fall when the new intel problems have been addressed? It looks as if somebody fixed the problem, and I don't think they are retarded at all.

"...the waitress down at the Lantern"

If you have not listened to Hotel Lights, I highly recommend them. It's funny how I came to listening to them again on a regular basis. Ayse first discovered this band last year when she went to see the lead singer of the Be Good Tanyas over in Raleigh. They opened up and Ayse really loved them. She bought the cd and we both listened to it regularly. As a side note, I was driving with Ross to a training, and told him about the band and showed him the cd. He looked at the liner notes and pointed out the James Helper is thanked. James is the IT guy in our building, and a member of a band himself. James told me that he had loaned his drum set to Hotel Lights when they were getting started. Anyway, sometime late last fall, they fell completely off my radar. I didn't listen to them, I didn't think about them, the cd is lost (but the songs remain on my itunes). This last week at SXSW in Austin, Kirk mentioned that he was going to see some NC bands, like Hotel Lights. I had an "oh yeah" moment, and have been listening to their cd all week.

They have a song that includes the line" like the waitress down at the Lantern." The Lantern is, by far, my favorite restaurant in the Triangle. Unfortunately, I can count the number of times I have been there on three fingers on my left hand. I believe that from this day forward, I should eat there once a week until I find the waitress the song refers to.


books read...

1. The Good Life - Jay McInerney
2. Saturday - Ian McEwan
3. Reunion - Alan Lightman

Currently reading The Shadow of the Wind which has been on the bedside table since we moved here.

I'm Back!

I got away from blogging for awhile, but I am going to try again. I just returned from the SXSW conference in Austin where ae moderated a panel on women's blogs. She did an excellent job and I was very proud. Her panel mates were awesome too. It is funny how that if you hang around an international interactive conference, you will get caught up in the fever. Let me tell you, Powerbooks were everywhere. Twice, I saw someone having a conversation and to make a point, they whipped out their laptop to show an example of what they were talking about. And let me tell you, bloggers are treated like rock stars. Well, at least he and she were. I actually saw this guy sign an autograph. I asked him for his.