Saturday, January 30, 2010

Grocery Store

I was amazed to learn that our neighborhood Harris Teeter is staying open 24 hours a day even through all this nasty weather. We were there today, along with about six or seven other people.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Inclement Weather

Of course I'm going to prepare for milk sandwiches like everyone else, but two other precautions occur to me as winter weather approaches: I'll gas up the car and charge the cell phone. Oh, and charge the digital camera.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Durham has expanded its list of what's allowed in the blue curbside recycling bins, gable-top cartons and yogurt cups to name two. Full list here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

An Essay

One of the more enjoyable essays in the 2009 "Best American" collection was "Faustian Economics" by Wendell Berry. I found an online version here.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I'm Not Dead Yet

It's nice to imagine we've reached a point in civilization where we no longer accidentally put live people into coffins. But no.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Strange Beauty Film Festival

The Strange Beauty film festival was a good time. I found a handful of shorts on the Web:

Ecological Apple (1:00)

America Is Fucked (graphically at least) (3:12)

Cat, part 1 (3:22)

Cat, part 2 (3:37)

Ben Pickle (11:25)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mongolian Rail

Longtime readers will remember my keen interest in the Mongolian rail gauge problem. Here's a pretty decent piece on the matter.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Avatar Sex Scene

The best part of this story isn't that the Avatar DVD will include a sex scene, but that the sex scene was deleted from the original movie because "the film was aimed at a family audience." That's a good one.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Movie Review

We saw 3-D Avatar Saturday night.

Unfortunate parts: cardboard characters and a plot that descends into huge, overwrought, violent, loud, chaotic battle scenes. In that respect it's no different from any other battle-scene-driven movie.

Amazing parts: the plants. I mean that. They were beautiful. The 3-D and colors and use of light (like Tron, only 27 times more exquisite) were like nothing I've seen before. Very nice.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Project

Emma and some friends met here at our house after school today to work on a science fair project. One of their parents had phoned me late last night to verify that I was aware of the plans he had only just sort of heard about. The kids made all the arrangements, including making sure parents wrote the appropriate notes for getting off with Emma at the right bus stop.

Sure enough, they showed up and set right to work. It's an experiment involving the microwave and three bags of Orville Redenbacher popcorn. They completed the experiment, started their write-up, and typed and printed labels for their display board. "When's the project due?" I asked. February 5th. Good Lord. I don't know where these children came from. At one point I overheard a brief discussion about what might be the most commonly used preposition. Honestly.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Next Blog

It's a bummer that Blogger changed that "next blog" button up there in the navigation bar. Time was when you could click it and be handed a completely random blog from anywhere in the collection, in any language. It was fun. According to this explanation, they changed the code to try to tailor the next blog to something you might like it. I don't like it. The randomness was more interesting.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Library Books

Both girls had library time at school today. Jane brought home My Pet Ferrets; Emma's choice was The Name of this Book Is Secret.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Saturday we stopped in at Pennies for Change, where Kimberly found a nice blue coat and I bought a copy of Rise Up Singing for $1.50. Their new location is across from the Guglhupf.

And here's a fun little article on positive thinking.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

In Two Weeks

Reference links: Joe Van Gogh cafe, Durham Spelling Bee, Strange Beauty film festival, Manbites Dog theater.

The weekend of January 22 is going to be a whirlwind of fun. I'm sending an early alert so you can plan to join any or all parts if they resonate. Friday night, Strange Beauty Block 1. Saturday afternoon, Block 2. Saturday evening, Spelling Bee. Saturday night, Block 3.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Book Review

Last night I finished Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories. It's very much like a supercharged version of The Phantom Tollbooth: fantastic and magical with extremely athletic wordplay. Rushdie clearly has fun with language, though his antics can be distracting and annoying; it's too much sometimes--like drinking glass after glass of concentrated orange juice (you know, without adding 3 cans of cold water and stirring briskly). But all in all, not a bad ride.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Fun and interesting things have crossed my desk lately. The highlights:

The decade's top 10 quotations, my brother's list on book collecting, and Avatar summed up in 5 comic frames.

A Giveaway

We have an extra, unopened quart of Trader Joe's organic half & half, expiration date January 18. Anyone want it?

A Quote

Think of the moment you wake up in the morning as the most important moment of your day. Why? Because the rest of your day depends on it, and the rest of your life depends on this day. Jesus knew this and said, 'Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today.' Yes, do not worry about tomorrow, provided that you think about today, about really living today; otherwise, you will spend each tomorrow repairing the consequences of the mistakes you made the previous day. All those who have concerned themselves with their future while neglecting the present twenty-four hours have left gaps everywhere in their life, and they are back again on earth to put things right, to make amends and suffer. If you can just live twenty-four hours well, you prepare the twenty-four hours to come, you have nothing to put right, and the schedule ahead of you is easy to carry out: the ground has been cleared, there
is no congestion, and so life becomes easy. But most importantly, start by living the first moments of the day well, so as to prepare the hours that follow.

--Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov

Saturday, January 2, 2010


While the writing style in Haroun and the Sea of Stories is distractingly flowery and "grand" in a kind of fake way, I'm plowing ahead because something's telling me it might turn into an engaging story. Unfortunately, my "something's telling me" is accurate only about 46% of the time.

Following that comes 2009's Best American Essays, a gift from Mom, and then The Classic Fairy Tales, sent to me by my California uncle.