Author Archives

Nov 07

The Gum Thief, by Douglas Coupland

One of my favorite authors, but I didn’t really care for this book too much. Coupland is one of the best writers in the world at point of view — this story, like Hey Nostradamus, which I liked a lot — is written from many, many different points of view. The way he does it is amazing — craft is in evidence here for sure. Lots of points of view within points of view (i.e. characters writing from other characters’ points of view). But at the end of the day, I didn’t care much about the characters, so the book was a disappointment for me. Hopefully next time.

Oct 07


some weeks, you want to call “do over” on and try them again — but not this week. this week, just looking forward to it ending.

(in other news, just installed leopard. some bits driving me crazy — translucent menus are the dumbest idea ever — but other bits are nice. seems snappy.)

Oct 07



Okay, the good news is that we don’t actually have moles in our front yard. The medium-to-bad news is that we have gophers. Or, rather, gopher (singular), we think. A new piece of home lawn care trivia: moles present as big mounds of dirt in your front yard. Gophers present as a gradual & widening area of dead grass and soft spots in your lawn. And moles are carnivores, looking for grubs & such, while gophers are vegetarians, only hoping to eat the roots of all the plant life that you love.

Somehow I’m comforted by the thought that it’s a gopher and not moles, and not just because I feel an affinity with Bill Murray now. Somehow moles seem incredibly alien & unknowable to me, while gophers seem more like your friendly mammal-next-door.

All the same, my favorite gopher is a dead gopher, at least in the vicinity of my front yard, so we’ve set a trap for the critter, so we’ll see how it goes. (Yes, I know that this is an incredibly unhip and unfriendly post to write on Blog Action Day, but it’s eating my yard, man. Gotta get this fixed. FWIW, our “mole guy” is a super-smart & friendly entomologist from UCSC who’s found that Silicon Valley types (and Woodside folks in particular) are happy to pay $55 per critter for removal.)

Oct 07

The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan

Great, great book. I didn’t really mean to read this — but I was at Logan a couple of weeks ago with nothing to read (a very strange happenstance for me), and this was the best thing I could find to read at the bookstore there. I’m really happy I picked it up — fantastic look at why Americans eat the way we do, how food gets to us, and some of the implications of living the way that we do. 3 sections: (1) the industrial food chain, (2) organic (both industrial organic and local organic), and (3) hunting & gathering.

The book is full of little tidbits that I didn’t really know — things like how “super-sizing” came to exist, that we didn’t have high fructose corn syrup until 1980, and how morels appear in forests following fires as a crisis defense mechanism.

But also full of major themes like why corn completely, totally dominates our food chain (and it does in ways that are much more pervasive than I really thought). And the ethics of meat eating. (For the author, he ultimately decided he thinks there’s nothing particularly wrong with the philosophy of eating meet, but there’s much wrong with the practice of how we do it today.

Anyway, lots and lots of great insights here and things to think about — has already affected the way that I notice the world around me. And has made me a little ill every time I think of all the corn I’m eating now. (It’s everywhere!)

Aug 07

After Dark, by Haruki Murakami

The newest novel from one of my top 5 favorites, Haruki Murakami, After Dark is sort of an Eyes Wide Shut, Tokyo-style. It chronicles the goings on of one evening in Tokyo — brothels & diners & random meetings. It’s got the dreamlike style that Murakami is known for, and is a quick read, but I didn’t find it as fun or compelling as most of his books. It does make me want to go back & read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, though.