April, 2006

Apr 06

Sunday in Paris

Another nice day — here are some more pictures.

Apr 06

in paris

put up some pics of my 1st day in paris. great time so far — heading over to the Louvre to spend the day, I think. wearing my running shoes — lots of walking today. 🙂 notre dame was pretty awesome — amazing how tall the place is.


Apr 06

You Gotta Have Wa, by Robert Whiting

BJR gave me this book a few years back, but I finally got around to read it, prompted by the World Baseball Classic last month. It’s a book written in the late 1980s, about baseball in Japan, and the mixed success of American players there. It’s a really interesting book — although probably only really worth finding if you’re both interested in baseball and interested in Japan — otherwise maybe it’s a little on the esoteric side of things. I’m pretty sure that things have changed dramatically in the last 15-20 years, so would really be interested in a followup. There probably aren’t a lot of books like this, so this one was cool to have.

Apr 06

Heading to Paris

Somewhere over the East Coast at the moment, heading towards Paris to visit Mozilla Europe for the week. Here’s what I look like at the moment:


🙂 Not the greatest picture ever, but sort of cool to have a camera on my laptop. (Incidentally, I think that the new MacBooks are pretty great machines, when they’re not buzzing or over a hundred degrees.)

Kathy & Sam are in Texas now, hopefully home with Kathy’s folks after a trip up to Austin for the day to visit BJR & my brother’s family. Sounds like they had a pretty good day.

Considering how I want to blog this trip — thinking about starting a flickr account for pix and linking to them from here. Maybe just posting to .mac. Not sure. I’ll post about it. It’s interesting (for me at least) to note that I’ve now got 3 cameras with me: my point & shoot, my cell phone, and my laptop.

Apr 06

Apex Hides the Hurt, by Colson Whitehead

Colson Whiteheaad had a brilliant debut with The Intuitionist, a novel about race relations in America that evoked real & positive comparisons to The invisible Man. He followed up with John Henry Days, which I didn’t like as much. With Apex Hides the Hurt, he covers some similar topics, telling a story about a nomenclature consultant who’s called in to settle a dispute among small town leaders about whether to rename a town. One of my favorite quotes: “He liked his epiphanies American: brief and illusory.”

I thought this was a good novel, and worth reading, but not as profound as The Intuitionist. Still pretty good. His use of language in a few places in the book just blew me away. Here’s a relatively long passage from part of the book that I particularly liked (it’s not really a spoiler, but you might want to skip it if you’re planning to read the book):

Any handy road atlas describes the long tradition of noun names, adjectival names, that yoke abstraction to dirt, where we can get our grimy hands on it. Confluence, KY, Friendship, LA, Superior, CO, Commerce, OK, Plush, OR. Hope, AR, naturally. Oftentimes these names can also be found on the sides of packages of laundry detergent of abrasive cleaners, so generous and thorough is the sweep of their connotation. Freedom, needless to add. Can’t forget Freedom.

Truth or Consequences, NM. Hard to knock such brave and laudable candor. Such ballsy defiance to the notion of salesmanship. Pity the poor board of tourism for Truth or Consequences, NM! Death Valley, too, won points for its plainspoken delivery. Seeming to say: It’s not like we didn’t warn you.

There were towns whose names were like thieves, attempting to pick the pocket of history, but instead became punch lines to jokes about the perils of juxtaposition. Milan, MN, Lebanon, OK, Dublin, IA, Brooklyn, OH. As if history came equipped with tiny snap-on hooks, was lightweight and portable and could be thrown up on available surfaces to accent the scheme of any room.

There was also a long tradition in naming places for great men, or at least men who believed in their greatness. He’d always had a soft spot for Amerigo Vespucci, who got lost while looking for the Indies and hit nomenclature’s Big Kahuna instead. Unless there was a gent named Europo he’d never heard about.

He couldn’t argue with America. It was one of those balloon names. It kept stretching as it filled up, getting bigger and bigger and thinner and thinner. What kind of gas it was, stretching the thing to its limits, who could say. Whatever we dreamed. And of course one day it would pop. But for now, it served its purpose. For now, it was holding together.