September, 2007

Sep 07

To remove yourself from the Do Not Call list, press 1

not kidding: DirecTV just did an automated call to my house to remind me that I’m on their Do Not Call list, and if i wanted to take myself off. i suppose i was thinking that the fact that we’re on the list might avoid calls like, um, this one. wtf?

Sep 07


about time for DRM-free mp3 downloads. how long until an itunes plug-in that makes this all seamless? greaat, great news.

Sep 07


it’s going to be hot again this week, back up into the 80s, but this weekend was a little chilly, drizzly, and basically felt like fall. wore sweater for the first time in a while; sam & i took an umbrella for our walk to starbucks. driving to work this morning, i found myself in more of a fall mindset, i think — a little more centered, thinking about longer term things (6 to 18 months), less frantic like the summertime mindset.

on the other hand, the new fall television season starts tonight, so who knows…

(and, btw, season 5 of The Wire starts in January. fantastic. you should all buy seasons 1-4 on DVD straightaway. best friggin’ show in television)

Sep 07

China Road, by Rob Gifford

Great, great book. Everyone interested in China should read it. Written by an NPR correspondent who’s reported from Beijing for 6 years, it’s a really good bit of insight into what’s happening in China now and why. The book jacket reads a bit like a travel book: the frame of the story is 2 trips that Rob took on China’s Route 312, and East-West highway that stretches from Shanghai on the East all the way through Urumqi and into Kazakhstan in the West.

But it’s a lot more than that; it’s a look into the mass migration that’s happening in China from rural areas into cities, and from the relatively underdeveloped West to the coastal East of Beijing, Shanghai & Shenzen. He likens it to the travels of the Okies written about by Steinbeck.

He also gives quite a lot of historical context as he travels through places like Xian (the original capital, I think?), and visits Tibet. There are bits about what the government is doing to bring the West into the rest of China (culturally), and why that’s happening. And it’s a fun book to read, too.

Anyway, great book, highly recommended. I recognized a bunch of the places and the phenomena that he talks about from my recent trips, and from my point of view, he does a really admirable job of making some very complicated things accessible to everyone.

Sep 07

ZOMG. Moles.

We have moles in our front yard. Ugh.

That’s not some sort of weird metaphor — Kathy & I (and, I suppose, Sam), have actual, real-life varmints of the mole persuasion living under our front yard, digging up our grass, eating our bugs, hanging out under our lawn. We’re a little stumped on what to do, as we’ve never come across this particular situation before.

Any ideas?