Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ironic Internet Twist

I'm still reading the book, "Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything" by James Gleick.  There is a chapter called "Short Term Memory" that I read tonight that made me stop to think about life and this internet data stuff we busy ourselves with (including reading and writing this blog....).  I decided that there was no good way for me to paraphrase, so I'm just going to type a few sections out- feel free to skip around, but I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys random facts of life and/or sitting, staring absentmindedly at the wall pondering the facts of life.

Watch this clip from Animal House... the conversation between Pinto and Donald Sutherland kind of sums up how I'm feeling with this book right now.

So here it goes, from pages 249-255 of "Faster":

Many of the world's librarians, archivists, and Internet experts see a crisis looming.  They warn that our burgeoning digital culture is heading for oblivion, and fast.  "There has never been a time of such drastic and irretrievable information loss," says Stewart Brand, creator of the Whole Earth Catalog a generation ago.  Our collective memoriy is already beginning to fade away, he argues.  Future anthropologists will find our pottery but not our E-mail....  
..Perhaps the speed and richness of the Internet have lulled us, letting children in Boise read census data from Washington and oral histroy from Hiroshima.  Words swim instantly across the network, not caring about the mileage, and we don't exactly feel information-deprived.  We may be drowning, actually.  but are we sacrificing longevity to gain glut?  
It's scary.  And yet... 
It's the age-old argument of quantity versus quality- there is so much coming at one person in a single day that there is no way for us to catalog and retain every bit.  But ultimately, how do we know the difference between quality information and, for lack of better words, not-so-much quality information?  Who tells?  I for instance, can't get rid of the information I learned on a True Facts video about ducks.  I may get the numbers a little mixed around, but the facts are in there.  Never leaving.  Google that shit and you will never see ducks the same.  It is like the first time I saw my second-favorite university campus animal (after dogs, obviously), the squirrels, getting busy in a tree outside the Literary Arts Building.  Before I really enjoyed the furry little guys and their presumed innocence.  
But I digress.... I remember ducks have anti-rape vaginas, something that I don't need or want to remember, but there are times when I have to think twice before I answer what my age is.  So who determines what information makes it to the next level of humanity?    

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Amazing Merengue Dancing Dog

I think I may have overlooked an exciting career opportunity:


This amazing merengue dancing dog is pretty damn impressive and adorable.  I know this is an old video, but the best time wasting website Buzzfeed.com just reminded me of it in this random post, one of many random Buzzfeed posts that are extremely enjoyable.  Tonight, I also read about Bostonians being hardcore Bostonians (the first picture shows a road condition advisory board that reads "Wicked High Tides" and later on, a taxi advertisement for a car wash that reads "Like a Spa For Your Cah"  Phenomenal.)  After that, I looked at the top 20 dog Halloween costumes, followed by the top 20 coolest pug Halloween costumes.  Then I found "34 Times John Krasinski was the Most Perfect Man Alive."  Nailed it.  If you've never buzzfeeded (or is it BuzzFed?) get on there asap.  Get comfortable, though because you'll be cruising it for hours.  I literally started writing this post an hour and a half ago, but have been "getting links" to connect their site to this post and keep getting distracted by even more entertaining lists.  Like right now, I'm watching "Yiddish Words You Should be Using Right Now"  FAKAKTA! 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What I've been reading this summer.... in case you care

So, I realized I never posted this lovely literary section this summer and I have no idea why.  I think I was going to go back and look to see if I'd read anything that I was forgetting in the list.  Or maybe I just forgot to press "Publish."  Either way, I thought I would update with my reading list since I put down the "Cookbook Collector" by Allegra Groodman.  I'm probably going to forget a few....

I'm reading "Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie
It kind of blows.  Thanks a lot for the glowing review, Mom.  I was quite surprised by my mother's recommendation of this book because it is very frivolous.  I will say, though, that the sexy scenes and sexual tension are pretty A-Okay.  I just finished this book (I've had to come back to this post twice now.... update:  this book: C.  That is all)

"Faster" by James Gleick
This is an awesome book- I still haven't finished it.... it is not like a novel, it is one of those books I pick up between reading other books, there isn't a plotline to remember or anything like that.  It is fascinating, though.  It talks about how impatient and speed-oriented our culture has become and it has all these random facts that of course, I can't remember now that I am writing about it.  One of the facts is about how many millions of floors Otis elevators go up every day and another is how using the microwave to cook food only saves people like an average of 3 minutes a day.....  totally random facts.  **Another random fact from me that has nothing to do with this book:  Don't check out a library book and not return it because you like it and figure you can just go in and pay the price of the book and the fines will hit a 'debt ceiling' if you will.  I just mailed a check to the library for $46.00!!  Yes, I like the book (not this Faster book, it is another one), but I could have bought it (and bought my dad a copy for Christmas last year) for $18.00.  EPIC FAIL, ME.  
I would also like to note that when I googled this book to find the picture to post, there is a Cliff Notes version....  for people that want to read a book about America's fascination with saving time in any way possible in a condensed, hyper shortened version.  Haha.  Silly bitches.

Has anyone read any books they'd recommend (or really hate)?  Please share!! :-)
Now, the original post that was never posted:

I just (literally moments ago set the book on the floor beside my bed) finished "The Cookbook Collector" and realized that I couldn't remember the book I read before it, so I thought I ought to document my summer reading list for my own benefit.  If anyone happens to find a book they are interested in off the list, so be it.  

I will go in reverse chronological order, starting with "The Cookbook Collector" by Allegra Goodman

"Emily and Jessamine Bach are opposites in every way: Twenty-eight-year-old Emily is the CEO of Veritech, twenty-three-year-old Jess is an environmental activist and graduate student in philosophy. Pragmatic Emily is making a fortune in Silicon Valley, romantic Jess works in an antiquarian bookstore. Emily is rational and driven, while Jess is dreamy and whimsical. Emily’s boyfriend, Jonathan, is fantastically successful. Jess’s boyfriends, not so much.

National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Allegra Goodman has written a delicious novel about appetite, temptation, and holding on to what is real in a virtual world: love that stays" -
Amazon.com- The Cookbook Collector

I wouldn't go so far as to call this novel "delicious," as it hardly delves into the recipes or even food that much, which is kind of what I was hoping for with the title what it is.  But it was worth my week of reading time, so whatever.  It also hit me while I was reading this last night because it goes through the time period of the 9/11 attacks- the book took a surprisingly emotional turn for me.  Then I was wondering how 9/11 effected the face of literature: if this book had been written in a nondescript time frame, would there have been sections with a title and dates given?  Probably not, because why would we care that such and such happened in August of 2011 if not for what happened that specific September?  Just something to ponder, one of the smaller thought-of and less significant things that 9/11 changed...

"If You Were Here" by Jen Lancaster

This book probably would have been way more engrossing had I been a bigger fan of John Hughes' movies.  It isn't that I don't like all those "Brat Pack" movies, I am completely ambivalent.  I've seen a handful of them, and could care less.  Woop-de-doo.  Anyway, this book was about a couple with lots of dogs and cats that move from their urban apartment to the house that the fictional Jake Ryan lived in in the movie "Sixteen Candles."  Of course, that house is in horrible shape and they try to do their own renovations, yada yada yada.  It was cute, but whatever.  (You can quote me on that last line of critique- I know it was so scholarly).

"The Last Summer (of You & Me)" by Ann Brashares

Total un-engrossing "beach read."  It was my "let's read a little before conking out because it is pretty boring and predictable" book of the summer.  Sorry, Ann Brashares.  I loved the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books, but this is a no-go for me. 

I started reading "Clean" by Alejandro Junger, several books back and am still in process of reading. 
Check out the website to read a little more- there is no way I can effectively explain it other than you eat "cleaner" and detox your thinking, the chemicals you use on a daily basis, and obviously the food you eat for 7-21 days, depending on your commitment, and this cleanse gives your body the time and nutrients it needs to get rid of all the nasty gunk that has accumulated in your innards.  He explains it that our bodies were made to deal with feast and famine back in cave man days and our internal organs were made to be able to filter out a certain amount of bad stuff, but that we have so much bad stuff floating around (in the air, the food, the body products, the technology we use, etc etc.) that our body only has time and energy to get rid of a certain amount of stuff and all this other stuff accumulates and clogs our arteries and makes us fat and gives us cancer and diabetes and all that kind of stuff.  It is actually pretty interesting, even if you aren't going to do a cleanse (I haven't so far because, as I've mentioned before, I am in the thick of wedding season- emotions are running high as it is, if you take away some of my food, I might snap.  Not good.) 

I read "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood at the beginning of the summer- that was quite a sobering little story from the 80's I think it was that had some uncanny similarities to the state of our society these days.  Thank you to my friend Marie for the recommendation, although the storyline really scared the bejeezus out of me.  I don't want to become a handmaid or any other thing in that book.  Ick.  But what religion were they comparing it all to?  I have a bit of a bias and was rooting for it to be Mormonism the whole way through (I can show you proof within the story of the similarities) but there were other religions and government structures that were also evident in the author's inspiration.  Yeeks.