Saturday, January 22, 2011

A New Post

This is a post about remembering you started a blog , wrote five posts, and forgot about the thing. What was there? Christmas and work and books to read. Two months pass.Then you remembered it, reread your old posts, thought they were actually pretty good, and decided you might try again. Has that ever happened to you? So. Since this blog is going so damn well, I'm planning on starting another blog as well. That one will be specifically about my project of reading the Modern Library Top 100 Novels of the Twentieth Century. I just have to finish reading Ulysses first. So look for that... never.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Marnie Stern

Check out this video. Marnie Stern's an amazing guitar player and a true original. Love this.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Joads 'N Roads 2010

Right now I'm reading John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath at the same time I'm listening to the audiobook of Cormac McCarthy's The Road. If you're familiar with both books you'll understand when I say that compared to what the man and the boy go through in The Road, the Joads are a bunch of pussies.

Which is unfair. The conditions the main characters face in The Road are about as bleak as they could possibly be without comletely draining them of their will to live. In The Grapes Of Wrath, the Joads are part of a massive migration of poor farmers to California. Things are unbeleivably hard for them, but there's always hope and a strong family to keep them going. Both are about that human drive for survival for ourselves and our loved ones. The characters in these books would give everything for their families. The level of sacrifice just goes way further for the man and the boy than for the Joads.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

On Being Normal

I've lost about forty-five pounds since May. People who haven't seen me in a few months immediately notice and ask me about it. I'm proud of that but it's embarrassing, mainly because I don't typically brag about myself without some self-deprecation hiding out somewhere. But nope, there is no cloud to this silver lining. It's a 100% positive change due to my own hard work and resolve. How embarrasing.

The question people ask is "What have you been doing?" Usually I give a reductive answer like "eating right and exercising". This is true, and it's basically the point of any serious weight loss program, but there's obviously more to it than that. I owe my thinner physique in part to Dr. Oz, Michael Pollen, and Nintendo, among other things. I decided to throw everything to do with health and weight loss at my mind and body at once, so I read diet books like You: On a Diet (very helpful, more like a science book than a series of unattainable prescriptions) and French Women Don't Get Fat (less helpful, as the author has no real expertice in nutrition or medicine, but fun in its own way). I saw Food Inc., a documentary that encourages a complete reexamination of the food you and your family consumes, not just for your own health, but for the environment as well. Along the same line I read Michael Pollen's In Defense Of Food and Marion Nestle's What To Eat. I bought a WiiFit and started weighing and doing the exercises. Then I started running.

I plan to go into the changes I've made to my diet and activity, as well as my values and worldview, in later posts. Today I just wanted to report that for the first time, the scale on the WiiFit told me something no one has ever told me, "You're normal." Normal being a BMI below 25. It was 24.99, so I'm like, teetering on the line between normal and overweight. I feel certain I'll backslide a little tomorrow, as these things ebb and flow a little. But still. Normal. That's pretty awesome.

Oddly enough, normal is in fact abnormal for Americans. Two thirds of us are either overweight or obese. Our diet is mostly crap and our jobs find us sitting inchairs all day and the stress of all of it goes right to the waistline. Much like a delicious cinnamon roll, it's a fatness spiral. I've pulled myself out of it and hopefully I have the good sense to stay out.

Note: I am cheap. Almost all of the above things were free. I spent a hundred bucks on the WiiFit (worth it), but the books were from the library and the movie was a free screening.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Five Good Things I Can Say About Glenn Beck

Every conservative radio host claims that his critics are only reacting to sound bites that have been taken out of context. Just really listen to my show, they implore, and it will all make sense. It never makes sense.  Not one of those cats burning up 560 WVOC ever engage in a real discussion of issues or meaningful debate (except the unlistenable local guy Kevin Cohen, who is still the unlistenable local guy). There's nothing to do here but confirm and entrench opinions you already have, either in opposition or support of the host. You. Will. Learn. Nothing.
So of course I have actually listened to Glenn Beck, at work in the truck in the late mornings. I am not exactly proud of this, but sometimes you just get bored with people on NPR soberly discussing the issues of the day and you want a big ol' plate o' crazy. Eh?
Anyway, uh, what was the title of this post again? Okay, then, the list:

1. Glenn Beck has comic timing. He can actually tell a real joke. Not some evil-sounding guffawing thing that eats your soul, like Limbaugh does. His jokes are not actually funny, but they sound like something approaching actual humor. Clearly an evolutionary step forward for conservatives.
2. I think Glenn Beck is basically sincere. Again in comparison to Limbaugh, who comes across as a calculating pragmatist who doesn't really care about the truth, Beck seems to believe in what he is saying. The famous crying, while making him seem unhinged, never comes off as contrived.
3. Glenn Beck, and the Tea Party people he champions, are serious about really being conservative. I mean, really doing it. Not cutting taxes a little and ramping up spending irresponsibly like elected Republicans have actually done for the last thirty years. On the other hand, if they get elected, I doubt any of them could really cut anything that would make a real difference. But I understand the appeal of that basic idea.
4. Glenn Beck -- the new Oprah. As in, he gets people to read. Actual books. It's a start.
5. He does the morning "gang" thing really well, chatting with his producers and seeming all affable and stuff. Which makes those angry, screamy moments all the more punchy.

Let's hear it for faint praise!

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Hi, Jason here. This is just a first post because there has to be a first post. This is a groundbreaking, ribbon-cutting sort of thing, the written equivalent of one of those "Under Construction" .gifs from the paleolithic mid-nineties internet.
The plan for this blog is to be a random catch-all of whatever's on my mind that requires more elaboration than Facebook and Twitter allow. The name comes from the zine I wrote from 1996-2000. I completed seven issues and had, like, thirty readers. I'm hoping to duplicate that wild success here.