Tuesday, July 26, 2005

These Days

What I'm reading:

Every Business Needs an Angel: Getting the Money You Need to Make Your Business Grow by John May and Cal Simmons

Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk

Rules for Revolutionaries: The Capitalist Manifesto for Creating and Marketing New Products and Serivices by Guy Kawasaki

The Kingdom by the Sea by Paul Theroux

What I'm writing:

Outlines for conference sessions on four topics

Sample author proposal that will turn real next week after partner approval

What I've spent the most unproductive time on this week:

Dealing with the phone company.

Most productive:

Looking at finished branding -- logos and colors

Too Hot to Blog

It's been too hot to blog! Actually, it's been too hot to do much. And for every day in the heat, you need a day of recovery. Weather says the heat is supposed to break tomorrow. I'm due to be at the lake boat racing all day Thursday, Friday and Saturday so I hope they're serious. Otherwise, all the PowerBars and Gaterade in the world might be enough to keep me from bonking by 4 p.m. in the afternoon. Of course, a few G&T's downtown for dinner aren't helping me hydrate any faster!

Monday, July 11, 2005

Paul Oakenfold on tour

Paul Oakenfold (one of the country's best known DJs and creator of trance and electronica next to Moby and DJSkribble) performs tonight at Talbott Street. $20 at the door. If you can see this show, do it. More in Intake.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Pointers Pointers Pointers

I bought a new desk chair for my office and to justify the expense I'm back in the game! Here's what's happening in my world:

Over at Cerulean Blue by LawGeekGurl: Office protocol and Bush's fuzzy science all wrapped up in smart, brief posts (well, as opposed to smart briefs, I'm just guessing here).

Via the fabulous Ms. Laura Lemay at Limon (who spent way too much time, energy and effort reviewing cold brewed coffee last week), we have my new favorite blog, Fat Cyclist. My favorite part of July is watching Tour coverage live in the mornings. And reading his funny, wonderful writing.

And over at Ask Dave Taylor (same author as the Intuitive Life Business Blog) author and business expert Dave Taylor has a nice post for new writers. Inspiring even if you don't write technical books (linked through Joe Wikert's The Average Joe publishing blog.)

Book Meme -- Tagged by ER

I'm not much for memes but I was officially tagged by the Erudite Redneck so here you go.

How many books have I owned? I'd say over the years I've probably owned at least 1000 books. I probably have 400 or so in house at any given time. (50 are cookbooks alone, I just counted.) I probably buy 50-75 a year. I admittedly have books stashed in every room of the house like some people hoard food. Coffee table art, architecture and design books in the living room, cookbooks, political, business, historial fiction, nonfiction, poetry, art narrative and popular fiction and non-fiction in the study (as well as travel, dictionaries, reference books, and sailing/boating books), a few cookbooks in the kitchen, and current books I'm reading on nightstand bookshelf. I used to think I would be one of those people overrun with books, but I seem to have hit some sort of stasis. I trade a lot of books back and forth with my father and when I'm ready to do a book purge, I load a few grocery bags up, leave them in my foyer, and let my friends paw through them and take what they want. After a few weeks of being picked over, I load them up and take them to the local used bookstore, where of course, I use what money I get to buy more books.

What was the last book you bought? As noted below, next Amazon order has Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk, Bone in the Throat by Anthony Bourdain, and Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell coming. Last book bought in a bookstore was probably Big Weather by Mark Svenvold. Last book from the library was last week -- Pride and Prejudice in unabridged audio which I also finished reading in hard copy. Didn't have to buy it, though. Already had it.

What was the last book you read? See post below. A nice long list.

What are FIVE (or more) books that have meant a lot to you? Hmmm. This is a nice one. I'm trying to stick with books that really have meant a lot to me for some reason or others not just books I really liked. I'm sure I'll think of more and more brilliant titles later, but for right now, in no particular order, I'd say:

1) We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda, Philip Gourevitch (This book should be required reading for everyone to be a human. A straightforward non-fiction account of how genecide could happen in the last decade plus the foundations of the problem we face with Africa today.)
2) Down and Dirty: The Plot to Steal the Presidency, Jake Tapper (An even-handed account of political history in the 2000 Bush/Gore election)
3) Novel Ideas: Contemporary Authors Share the Creative Process, Barb Shoup and Margaret Love Denman (An inside look at how novelists like Michael Chabon and Wally Lamb work)
4) Another Life: A Memoir of Other People, Michael Korda (Hands down the best book out there on publishing, editing and a life with authors from the S&S editor in chief)
5) Born to Win: A Lifelong Struggle to Capture the America's Cup, John Bertand (An amazing account of the birth of modern sports psychology, technology in boats and the first foreign team to win the America's Cup)
6) The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested Battled-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything, Guy Kawasaki (The business start-up, no bullshit Bible.)
7) A Man in Full, Tom Wolfe (The first novel that introduced me to the brilliance of Tom Wolfe)
8) American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis (A book I loved in 1991 and love now for so many different reasons by a novelist of my generation who "got it" but almost let this book break him as a writer. Make sure you buy the Vintage paperback since they were the only publishers who would take it on. When it was published, the NYTimes said this book should cause us to be able to ban books in America.)
9) That Old Ace in the Hole: A Novel, Annie Proulx (Proulx takes her signature way of looking at quirky cultures and explores the unique world of the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles.)
10) The Fourth Star: Dispatches from Inside Daniel Boulud's Celebrated New York Restaurant, Leslie Brenner (An amazing tale of day-to-day life inside one of NY's finest establishments after the Times denied them their fourth star -- and how they got it back.)

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Reading Like Crazy

Like anybody really cares about these long lists of books, but you know, it's all feeding an inadequate sense of accomplishment lately. (I'm going to have a lot of adjustment to this whole "working for yourself" business. When you go to an office everyday you at least feel like you did *something* even though more often than not, you could easily slide by without doing a damn thing. Now at least I own up to the fact that I'm not getting a damn thing done and go get a latte instead.) That said, here's my list of what I have actually finished in the past two weeks.

* The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell (should be required reading for all business people)
* The Teeth of the Tiger, Tom Clancy (terrible, Clancy just gets worse with each new book, sorely in need of an editor and a co-author, too much repetition, weak characters, lacking the robust technical details of his early novels, and poor plotting, read like the first half of what should have been a longer novel)
* Skinny Dip, Carl Hiassen (as expected, a fun summer beach read, love his S. Florida mysteries)
* The Trendmaster's Guide, Robyn Waters (fun book -- nothing earthshattering but good knowledge, she's the ex-buyer for Target)
* Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen (always a good idea, listened to about half in unabridged audio and read the rest. Elizabeth Bennet remains an ageless character still modern for the 21st century.)
* The Washingtonienne, Jessica Cutler (there's something just wrong about putting this one next to Jane Austen, pure unadulterated trash, poorly written, I'm guessing a hit inside the beltway and then even probably not so much)

Next up:
Emma Brown by Clare Boylan (the "finished" version of the unfinished manuscript left by Jane Austen on her death)

Although I have a mighty stack of unread fiction and non-fiction and may skip around, I just hit "send" on my latest Amazon order and that should yield some useful reading. Just ordered: Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk, Cloud Atlas: A Novel, by David Mitchell, Bone in the Throat by Anthony Bourdain (been wanting to read this forever to see if it was any good), and Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town by friend and former author Cory Doctorow.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Pimping My Ride -- Again

Just starting to get caught up with both blogs, but today made some serious progress over at FeedMe/Drink Me. Plus, I have an ice cold Shiner Bock in my hand and all is right with the world.

Back Home Again in Indiana

Back again from a two-week road marathon including many points east and west. New York was fantastic even for this time of year and Oklahoma, well, what can I say. The wheat is in, the grass is high, oil is over $50 a barrel and it rained twice all in a week. Local ranchers say the grass is better than they've ever seen it. It should be a great year for cattle. Every morning, I'd get up and go walk on the 1-mile jogging trail that circles our local lake and park with my 88-year-old father. Nice chances to catch up, relax, work in the 2.5 acre yard, and even take a nap every day. I saw many old classmates and friends and came home with a bunches of mosquito bites from pruning trees (mostly Russian Olives) all day Tuesday. Our nearest neighbor has started a vineyard and finally has about 125 vines trellised now. He's fenced them off, but our year and his are full of rabbits, squirrels, birds, dogs and more. Most lovely was just the chance to sit on the front porch with a book and a big glass of iced tea and watch the world go by: the bird who in a seeming battle with a tree branch flies away with a huge caterpillar in its beak, the ants collectively carrying back a huge beetle, the jackrabbit frozen on the lawn not realizing that with so much rain, the now-green grass is ineffective at concealing his motionless brown body. With no humidity, the temperatures notched up into the 90s but you couldn't tell -- not like 85 or 90 here in Indiana which is just miserable. It sneaks up on you, though, and you have to physically watch out for it. My father's father died of a heatstroke on June 30, 1918 or so after working in a field of ripe wheat. He was a very young man with a two year old who climbed off the tractor, sat down by the barn, and died.

It stormed almost every night -- lots of lightening and wind. We're close enough to the Rockies that we get those big pushes of air coming down from Colorado. But every morning dawned fresh and clear. I think I love it more not living there. And even with the heat and humidity, it's good to be back to my own home in Indiana.