Sorry to disappear on you, dear readers, for the last several weeks. Business took me to a bicycle-laden European country, a trip that was followed by some unusual work hours and three trips to see all of Toby's grandparents on various seashores.
We're baa-aack, just in time to continue assembling Ikea furniture flat-packs. Any guesses what LEKSVIK is?
Starbucks banana gossip: Buddies at the local Starbucks know me as "the guy who brings in his own banana syrup and then sits there and works." They excitedly tell me that a new drink with real, actual bananas will be available in just a few days. Read more here.
NYTimes: "In Novels for Girls, Fashion Trumps Romance:" And I thought I was behind for not knowing what Webkinz are. This article in today's Times is about several young-adult novels packed with product placement: "Indeed, you can often tell the bad guys by their unfortunate brand choices. The beautiful heroine of the “A-List” series, Anna, drives a Lexus (mentioned seven times in Chapter 1 of “American Beauty”) and wears a Molinari dress and Sigerson Morrison sandals. The poor thing gets in a car crash with some idiot middle-aged woman in a rusty Honda Civic, whose gray roots are showing and — here you may want to exercise parental discretion — who is wearing a bad Chanel knockoff scarf."
I'll restrain myself from making a wisecrack about the irony of the journalist's opening salvo: "A while back, Naomi Johnson, a communications professor at Longwood University in Virginia, sent me her doctoral thesis, which she described as a feminist analysis of the new wave of teenage romance novels. I don’t read lots of dissertations, and almost tossed this one when the words “ontological,” “objectivist” and “constructivist” appeared in the same sentence, on Page 38. " [here]
Anyway, what will Toby be subjected to, a few years from now? Heck, I don't even know what most kids read. Is Choose Your Own Adventure still in? Maybe it's Ender's Game.
Speaking of, ah, our ability to keep up with information, Danny Hills said it well (yet again) in his response to an article on whether or not Google is "making us stupid":
We evolved in a world where our survival depended on an intimate knowledge of our surroundings. This is still true, but our surroundings have grown. We are now trying to comprehend the global village with minds that were designed to handle a patch of savanna and a close circle of friends. Our problem is not so much that we are stupider, but rather that the world is demanding that we become smarter. Forced to be broad, we sacrifice depth. We skim, we summarize, we skip the fine print and, all too often, we miss the fine point. We know we are drowning, but we do what we can to stay afloat.
(the whole thing is at Edge.org)
From the "If You Don't Control Your Destiny, Someone Else Will" department: "Autopsy: Blood clots caused waiting room death," of a woman left waiting for 24 hours in a hospital ER. (CNN.com)
Back to something slightly techie. Seth Godin's 18 ideas on things that could be done with the Amazon Kindle.
For your iPod: I finally reloaded my iPod with some new tunes. If you like plinky thoughtful electronica, try out "Still Tired" from Herrmann & Kleine. Will put Ikea furniture together to 50 Cent's "In da Club" and Dr. Dre's rougher "One Eight Seven." Relive 1993 with Alice in Chains's "I Stay Away," whose alterna-anthem bridge at 2:12 still gets me. It's a good song to yell out loud. In your car, I mean, with the windows up.
If you want something more meditative and less angry, have you heard male-f0lk Iron & Wine, or really listened to Kris Delmhorst's choosing-my-own-way "Weathervane"?
Into trance? You know, like if you, say, exercise, which I don't, but hear is good for you? The iTunes podcast "Radio 538: Tiesto's club life podcast" is a frequently-updated 1-hour download of good stuff.