Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Shirts for Christmas

The king of the Christmas gifts I received this year was the Nikon D70s that my wife gave me. Some other highlights though were some really cool t-shirts.

My dad bought me a very cool shirt from Blue Note:


Amy knew that I had finally given up on my favorite Himmelman shirt and tossed it after 13 years of use. And for the surprise gift of the year, she presented me with a brand new replica of the original. Of course, the shirt isn't available on picture day. It's in the washing machine, but here's what the old and tattered one looked like:


Today I opened a package from my friend Leesa. She knows me so well. My man Buk and one of my favorite quotes of his: "I don't hate people, I just feel feel better when they aren't around." Love it. Just last night I was reading his excellent Ham On Rye again. It's just about perfect. And the shirt is awesome.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Nice View

From her kitchen window:

Nice Price for iPhone

Not that I could afford it right now at any price, but the prospect of buying a refurbished 8GB iPhone for just $99 intrigues. Of course, I think that the monthly plan would cost more than my current one, so I'll have to keep that in mind.

Anyway, it sure is nice to think about.

Also, read Arik Hesseldahl's recent column, "Tech Trends to Expect in 2009." I like the idea of "the cloud" as my personal assistant.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Why You Little...

Fernandina Beach

I messed up and took a lot of pictures at the beach with the camera on a ridiculously wrong setting. Instead of deleting them from the camera, I played with them a bit in Picasa and ended up liking the results. Flawed but kind of cool, I think. (At the very least, it's apparent that I need to clean my lens.)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I Marked All As Read

Those of you who use Reader and who sometimes don't check it for a week know what I'm talking about.

We're back in town and happy to be home. The apartment is a wreck. Clutter, clutter, everywhere. We need either a feng shui expert or a thorough thief with no discerning taste. In the absence of either, we'll settle for tackling the task ourselves in the morning.

With that said, I'm off to bed. It's good to be back.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sweet

Thanks to my wonderful wife and her friend who sold it to her, I get to learn how to use a brand new (to me) Nikon D70s.

Sweet.

The Gender Role Stereotypes Are Firmly In Place

My wife told me that the kids were sitting at the Christmas tree the other day and pretending to open presents. Joshua "opened" one and excitedly exclaimed, "An iPod! I've been wanting one of these for so many years!" Ari then reached for her imaginary gift and feigned similar excitement. "Oh my goodness! A real live baby! Just what I've always wanted!"

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Kids Get Excited About Philanthropy

“I've never forced my kids to do this,” said Will’s mom, Carolyn Nunn. “I've always given them the choice of a real birthday party versus a charity birthday party and since second grade, they've always chosen the charity party every time.” ... more>>

Also, Sam Davidson talks about United Way Nashville's wonderful Give 10 project. It's inspiring.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Translate This

I'm talking with my New York friend who saw "La Bohème" at the Met last night. She told me about the beautiful translations from Italian to English that scroll across the seat backs. Beautiful.

If I may quote her. "The words in English run across the seats. I wanted to grab each one to savor, astounding poetic beauty, expressions of how it is to be struck by love."

I smiled to remember my own Italian-to-English translation from last night. My family treated me to the most wonderful meal for my birthday at DaVinci's Gourmet Pizza. While in the restroom, I noticed some words on a sign just above the toilet. "Gli impiegati sono tenuti a lavarsi le mani." I was intrigued. I tweeted the phrase and then translated it when I got home.

In English: Employees must wash hands.

Expressions of how it is to be struck by germs. I take my poetry where I can find it.

I Live Vicariously Through My Internet Friends


The lovely NellyWaits attended "La Bohème" at the Met last night. While I would have loved to have been there as well, it was good to come home to this picture that she took from her seat. Ain't it beautiful?

I dream often of spending more time in New York City. I dream of sitting in one of those seats at the Metropolitan Opera. Until then, the above suffices nicely enough.

Through the kind generosity of a local blogger, I will be seeing the Nashville Opera presentation of "La Bohème" in April. Maybe I'll take a comparison photo for my New York friend.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Eight Months of Twitter

Twitter: What are you doing?

I poked around TweetStats today and gazed at my navel a bit. It appears that I type out 14.8 tweets a day and that October was very busy for me as I tweeted 566 times.

The words that I most often use are: good, thanks, tonight, time, and love. Fifty-three percent of my tweets are replies to others and I reply to monstermash40 more than anyone else. (All of my top ten replies are to women. I wonder why I rarely talk to dudes.)

While I follow a lot of people who I already know from the local Nashville blogging community, there are quite a few people I follow who are not. I have no idea how I came across some of the Twitter users who aren't from around here. NellyWaits is one example of someone whose tweets are always wonderful, but I can't recall how we "met." I wonder if there's a stat for finding out who was tweeting about what when a follow was made.

Anyway, I tracked back to find my first tweet ever and was surprised that it was as recently as April of this year. I thought that I had started my account as early as June 2007 when Bad Bad Ivy was telling me about it at Flugtag. I first heard of the service when Drew of The Dawn and Drew Show made mention of Twitter on the podcast.

So it was April 2007 for me and how in the world do I have over 200 people following my tweets? Technology and trends are always so interesting to me. My first tweet is pictured below. I think it represents the type of stuff I share perfectly. Not necessarily profound, just that little slice in 140 characters or less.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Search for happiness, refresh

(I like this screen shot. Consider me inspired.)



I read the other day about happiness and the studies that state the obvious. We watch too much television and we stare at our computer screens too much. We love these things and with good reason as they do bring many cool things into our lives. What they don't bring, however, are the levels of happiness to our lives that we might think.

The social networking claims of many of our favorite sites can be quite awesome when fulfilled. But—and maybe I'm just talking about me here—if we don't take advantage of the actual "social" part of the equation, then we're still just staring at a computer screen and not achieving happiness the way that we really could.

For unrelated reasons, I turned off my phone's Twitter updates for a couple of days. At first, it was tough to feel so "out of the loop," but within a few hours it was hard to imagine anything of value that I was missing out on. (No offense to my valued friends. I caught up on your tweets later on in the evening by perusing your feeds at home.) But certainly, I missed out on nothing that required my immediate attention.

Anyway, I think back to a simpler time, the nineties, and I remember that I had no computer for most of that decade. I don't think I even had a cell phone. But I was always out socializing. Clubs, bars, movies with friends, in my free time, I was maximizing my opportunities for fun. I know better than to blame the Internet for my change in lifestyle. Aging plays its role in slowing down the need to be out and about. I'm married to the love of my life and we are raising a five-year-old boy, a three-year-old girl, and another baby girl is on her way. If I'm not working, I'm either sleeping or resting on my couch and "socializing" through your wonderful blogs. It's not quite getting out and maximizing my opportunities for fun, but I'm on a budget and, forgiving the cost of Internet access, this is cheaper than meeting friends at a bar.

Still, the happiness I seek isn't being found here. I need to get better at making friends and spending time with those friends. I joke with my wife that I was "awesome in '93" and that she should have known me back then. There's no reason I can't show her that awesomeness in 2009. It'll be the year that these Beziats get social again. That's the plan anyway. Happiness. Refresh.

Peter Himmelman's Furious World

I would like to see more artists using streaming technology like Ustream to webcast concerts for their fans from their living rooms. Peter Himmelman brings to us another installment of his Furious World tonight at 9:00 CST. (For the Twitter users, he now tweets as well: Twitter.com/PeterHimmelman)

Click here tonight to watch my favorite artist perform with special guest and longtime friend Kristin Mooney. I met Kristin once and was mesmerized by her beautiful spirit. She has three excellent CDs available to listen to and buy over at CD Baby.

Tonight's gonna be awesome. Now if only my favorite Himmelman shirt (pictured below) hadn't finally fallen apart after approximately thirteen years of heavy rotation. I miss wearing it.

Missing Patient

From a very touching blog post this morning:

"Don't bother. You won't find that patient."

"Breast-feeding class?"

"No. Just gone. That was the Code Indigo."

"Oh! I thought I heard an all-clear a while back."

"Yeah, because the patient's definitively gone. Baby's still here, though. Wanna see?"
 
Read the rest at Notes of an Anesthesioboist.

Tonight I...

  • ...worked a longer and harder shift than expected.
  • ...clocked out at midnight after ice had settled on my car.
  • ...scraped off ice from my windshield with an unopened can of tuna fish that I apparently keep in my car for emergencies such as these.
  • ...got home safely and rewarded myself with a beer, some Internet and my iPod.
  • ...discovered French icon Johnnie Hallyday who sounds a bit like Elvis and looks a bit like a hybrid of George Michael and Bono.

This Bellman Wants

Weigh To Go! Bellman Scale(TM) - Interesting. It's a bellcart that doubles as a scale so that the hotel guest can weigh his or her luggage before heading off to the airport from the hotel. The hotel guest has comfort of mind knowing what airline fee to expect, the airline will keep its lines moving along speedily, and hopefully, the bellman will receive an enhanced tip for being a part of the process.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Trends are fun to notice.

It seems that every blog I read nowadays is about either hula hooping or cupcakes. I don't know if she's still doing it, but I remember a member of Panty Raid! Dames who lived out my way was even advertising hula hoop lessons on her MySpace page for awhile. Not until looking at some videos posted at The Little One did I fully appreciate how cool some hula hoop tricks could be. Now I'm thinking that I need to buy a hula hoop for my daughter. Heck, maybe I'd get pretty good at hula hooping myself.

Now about those cupcakes. Is it just me or is everyone writing about cupcakes everywhere? I'm no foodie and I don't subscribe to food blogs. Still, I see cupcake recipes and pictures of cupcakes all over the Internet these days. Even one of my favorite sex writers seems to be more about the cupcakes than the sex these days.

Anyway, I just thought I'd share that. Have a great Saturday.

Friday, December 12, 2008

This Economy Is Cramping My Style

If you read this blog often, there are two things that are probably true:
  1. You love me. (Thanks.)
  2. You know I'm often whining about being broke.
I thought I had the market cornered on broke bloggers. Everyone else I read had good jobs, traveled to cool cities, and generally was blogging about all kinds of nightlife activities. Things have been changing lately though. Favorite bloggers everywhere seem to be victims of layoffs, downsizing, whatever you want to call it; the crunch is everywhere. Suddenly, I'm starting to feel like one of the lucky ones. Except that things aren't so certain in my industry either, so I'm not resting all too easily myself.

On a more tedious note, I've always given myself a hard time for not being a better wage earner for my family. My perspective on this is changing as well. Nowadays, I'm in the company of a lot of very talented, highly educated friends who are either jobless or hanging on to what they've got for dear life. It's scary for so many of us right now. I used to think that if I ever lost my job, it wouldn't be too hard to replace it with another that paid about the same. Now I'm not so sure. Those $8-10 per hour jobs might be in higher demand than ever (college grads willing to take anything at this point), and even those jobs might be cutting budgets as well. Anyway, while Paige is pregnant with our baby Sam, it's less about the hourly wage and more about the health insurance. I'm holding on "in quiet desperation," as the song goes.

Hopefully the experts are wrong and 2009 will be much better than expected. We're all good people just trying to pay our bills, feed our families, and smile as often as possible. Here's to all good things for my friends and neighbors. It's been a tough year. We deserve a good 2009.

I love this forgotten old piano.

Art (loosely) imitates my life.

I have vertigo and I also have a great friend from Finland. Tonight I'm watching a show about a reindeer with vertigo who gets help from a flying Finnish squirrel.

It's called The Flight Before Christmas. I hope it's good.

[Edit to add: The movie was cute enough, but the description was a bit off. I saw no sign of the reindeer suffering from vertigo. He only didn't know how to fly. He just had to believe in himself, ala Dumbo. Also, the flying squirrel? Voiced by Norm MacDonald and pretty funny, but there was no mention in the movie of him being from Finland. That's a strange detail to be included in the TV listing but not in the film itself. Anyway, a the kids and I enjoyed it.]

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Maybe I Just Don't Like Music

Peter Himmelman has been airing live concerts from his living room (I think) a lot lately via Ustream. To this day, seeing him live at the Ace Of Clubs back in the 90s remains my all time favorite concert experience. Yes, he even beats out Tom Waits in this regard for me. Of course, I've had to work each night that Himmelman has performed for all of us fans on the Internet. The good news for me yesterday was that finally he was playing on a night when I didn't have to work. Last night, at 9 pm CST I was all set to kick back on the couch and watch him live for the first time since that legendary Nashville show at the Ace.

Well, enter my luck... The laptop, "fixed" last week for a modest charge, conked out last night an hour or so before the show started. I missed Himmelman again. As far as I know, Ustream doesn't do archives so I'll just have to wish for better luck next time.

In other music news, there was a benefit for Second Harvest Food Bank a couple of nights ago at The Basement. Local bands performing their interpretations of Tom Waits songs. My cup of tea, right? I had to work but my boss was happy to let me leave early for the show. Well, being broke and being me, I talked myself out of it before the night was through. I convinced myself that dropping whatever nominal door fee and then drinking a Yazoo or two would be irresponsible and maybe the bands wouldn't be all that great anyway. As it turned out, local favorite David Olney was among the performers. For him alone, any door cover would be more than worth it. I should just kick myself daily.

Regarding the laptop, the all night disk check must have been successful and we're up and running online here again. Something tells me though that the laptop's last days are upon us. The good news is that I can always do like I did before I had a computer and just watch lots of movies on cable channels like IFC. So anyway, for the moment, it's good to be online and among such a cool community of bloggers.

Have a great day!

Monday, December 08, 2008

I'd Like To Reserve A Room At The Shack Up Inn

Image by hensever

A nice review of a very authentic blues experience of a hotel is here. I'd never heard of the Shack Up Inn before but I think it's on my list of places to stay now.

If you're a fan of the Delta blues, then a night or two in Clarksdale, Mississippi's Shack Up Inn might be one of those magical and humbling experiences that we all need from time to time. Consisting of old cotton gins and sharecropper shacks, this is a hotel stay rich on history and respect and devoid of the luxuries we think we we need. Actually, I was surprised to read that Internet access is available but the website says that it comes and goes due to all of the tin in the area. The sheets might not match, the towels might be frayed and some floors squeak a bit, but everything's clean and simple and the atmosphere is genuinely relaxing and cool.

For reservations and more info, visit ShackUpInn.com.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Oh crap. A meme. Really?

So, I've been asked to list seven weird things about me. Can I just wimp out and say that, after much thought and consideration, I've come to the conclusion that there are absolutely no weird things about me? No? Okay.

Anyway, one of my favorite people in the whole wide world, Newscoma, is the person who linked me for this, so it's my pleasure to try to think of seven weird things about me. (Feel free to add your own insights on my weirdness in the comments.)

  1. Well, let's just start with number one, why don't we? I typically sit down to, um, go number one. I don't know why. Maybe because I stand so much each day that I like to sit down whenever I get the chance. What can I say? I'm lazy.
  2. (You're still here? Cool.) I'm on the fence regarding religion, but I pray often for my friends and family. Just in case.
  3. I used to eat applesauce with ketchup.
  4. Co-workers seem to think it weird that I don't have one consistent hairstyle. Slicked back, bangs down, side part, middle part, I change it up without thinking about it. I've just never committed to one look.
  5. Vertigo!
Wow. I seriously got stuck at five. Too many things from which to choose, I guess. Anyway, that's my post. Smell ya later.

Happy (12 Days Early) Birthday To Me

My wife bought me a Seagate FreeAgent external hard drive. 500 GB, thank you very much.

Now to pretend that I know a thing or two about a thing or two and set it up.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Caution: Picking up some suitcases can be harmful to your health.

My daily commute is happier than I know.

According to this overview of the Donelson area, Elm Hill Pike is a friendlier stretch of road than I give it credit for. I particularly like the bunnies in love.

(click for better detail should you so desire)

I'm planning my escape.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008