Sunday, February 28, 2010

It's After Midnight. Here's A Paragraph Or Two.

Big thanks to my mom who knows me well and gave me a calendar with pictures of trains to hang on my wall. I'm up late and sipping Sam Adams Black Lager and listening to Rain Dogs and Swordfishtrombones and Frank's Wild Years. I've got regrets that make me want to turn back the clock thirty years and I've got regrets that make me want to turn it back a day, but forward is the only way we get to go. One way forward and twenty-four hours a day, the great equalizer among us.

My son woke me from a nap this afternoon singing "16 Shells From A Thirty-Ought Six." Well, not the song, but that title line. I had been singing it earlier in the day while making his lunch and I guess he was paying attention. Maybe I'm more influential than I know. Speaking of Tom Waits and his songs, I'll share a quick confession, a sacrilege possibly among fans. I never cared for "Tom Traubert's Blues." It's good enough a song, but I never got why so many people who dig Waits seem to have that at the top of their list of favorite songs by him. It's grand and sweeping and melancholy as all get out, all good qualities for a song that resonates, but I get more out of "Time" and "Innocent When You Dream" when needing that signature Tom Waits song fix.

While I'm telling the Internet that I think about things, here's a line that I liked from the New York Times piece titled Depression's Upside:
If depression didn’t exist — if we didn’t react to stress and trauma with endless ruminations — then we would be less likely to solve our predicaments. Wisdom isn’t cheap, and we pay for it with pain.
I'm a wreck, a mess, and a misfit in so many regards, but a man with "endless ruminations" sounds so much better. Some nights, I don't figure I've got a chance at all in figuring out whatever it is that I need to figure out. Here's to the theory that I'm buying some wisdom by ruminating all the damn time. I sure hope so.

That said/written/blogged, I'm off to bed. I hope I dream about trains.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

On Depression

Two very interesting articles on depression that I read this week:

Head Case by Louis Menand in The New Yorker and Depression's Upside by Jonah Lehrer in The New York Times Sunday Magazine.

Friday, February 19, 2010

iPhone apps

My wife and I love our iPhones. So do our kids. Ever since they saw us playing games on our phones, they want to play, too. We should have never let them see that iPhones are cool. Ari loves the glow hockey game (anything hockey is cool with her) and Josh likes Labyrinth. I saw tonight that Kottke linked to a list of good games for kids. I play Madden NFL and the rest of my apps are mostly camera or news related. The big hit for me is Words With Friends.

If you have an iPhone, what are some apps that you think I would like? Extra cool if they're free.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Randomness on the Internet

I don't own a webcam so I haven't visited ChatRoulette yet, but Sam Anderson's piece on it in New York Magazine is a very fun read.

The part that made me laugh out loud:
One person had the courtesy to give me, before disconnecting, a little advice: “too old.” (I’m 32.) A girl with heavy makeup looked terrified when my image popped up on her screen—I actually felt guilty, a few rounds later, when the engine of randomness threw us back together and she had to look at my face for another excruciating half-second.
Poor Sam. I'm forty and would likely get the same reaction from all of those young and cool twenty-somethings who typically use the site. One thing that the writer did like about it was its randomness and lack of filters. You see the face of a fellow user on a webcam and if you aren't interested in chatting, you click "next" never knowing who'll pop up. You might not (except in the above example) ever see the same person twice.

When I first started using the Internet—remember WebTV?—randomness was what it was all about. Message boards and football stat sites, chat rooms and websites that I'd read about in Wired Magazine were among my most visited online destinations. One site (I forget the name) was created solely to take you to random websites at each click of a "next" button.

Now it's just Facebook that everyone is on. In the lobby where I work, I see dozens of business travelers a day working and killing time on their laptops while they break between meetings or wait for business associates or airport shuttles. For the most part, it's just Facebook that I notice on their laptop screens. I met a mature traveler recently who was very serious when making sure with me that her guest room would have wireless Internet service. I assured her that it did and she excitedly remarked that she had been on the road since early that morning and hadn't been able to check her friends' Facebook status updates. I smiled and asked her if she was on Farmville, too. "Yes!," she laughed. "I am so addicted to it."

We use the Internet now with so many filters and feeds, following and friending and sharing and pinging. It's all great and I get a kick out it, too. While I probably won't be making my way over to ChatRoulette anytime soon, I would like to explore beyond the social networks more often and maybe stumble across some of those interesting gems that are surely out there. Now where's that old website that used to do that for me?

Monday, February 08, 2010

"May I assist you with your funny shaped suitcase?"

I'm a bellman. I'm skilled in the art of stacking luggage onto carts and assisting guests to their rooms. I'm good with suitcases of all brands (Briggs & Riley, Lark, Hartman, Samsonite, etc.) and I know just how to handle ice chests and duffle bags, extra pillows, box fans and Kroger bags. The only challenge is sometimes convincing a traveler that my way will probably work out best. They know best how it all fits into the trunk. I know best how it will all fit onto the bellcart. I've dropped two items in fifteen years of doing this. Both times, I was not the person to stack the items.

The first drop was a tin of cookies. It fell from the top and crashed down with a clang onto the marble floor, announcing to the entire lobby that all eyes should be on the bellman. Upon impact, of course, the lid popped off, cookies scattered everywhere, and the aforementioned lid just rolled around comically for what sounded like forever. The second drop was a six-pack of beer that had been added to the cart when I wasn't looking. Right on the edge and ready for exit as soon as I made my first turn. Six bottles of Budweiser on the floor, five of which survived with no damage done. One, however, wasn't as lucky and gave me a nice little mess to clean up. As I recall, the cookie family was pretty cool about it and my tip seemed to arrive unaffected. The Bud drinker also was nice and I remember that she tipped extra generously after we replaced her dropped beers with a six-pack of our own.

On the subject of luggage, I saw a Style Bubble post in Google Reader about some very interesting luggage designs by Sarah Williams, graduate of MA Fashion Artefact. I think I'd enjoy learning how to properly stack some of her elegant work onto a bellcart. Click here to see how they look when opened.


Friday, February 05, 2010

iPhone Post

It's been brought to my attention that I don't blog much anymore. Have
I run out of things to say? Maybe I have.

How are you?