Monday, June 29, 2009


Dan just generated the world's first ever book recommendations based on a computer measuring text. It's not like Amazon recommendations that say "this person bought this book AND this other one." Go to to read up on what they're doing. The system won't be available to the public for a little bit, but I'm privileged since this piece of HISTORY was made in MY house. This is only the second time I've ever felt like I was witnessing history in the making. The first time was September 11, 2001.

The way this works is that I give Dan a book. He plugs it into a magic machine and spits out other books that are similar in writing style. The first book is the one that I asked him to plug in. The totaldiff measures how dissimilar any book is to the one that I ask him to plug in. Naturally, the first book should have 0 difference from itself. The lower the totaldiff numbers for the other books, the more like the original book they are.

If you like Tom Robbins's Jitterbug Perfume, then try reading some other books on this list!


author genre title totaldiff


1. Tom Robbins Literary Fiction Jitterbug Perfume 0

2. John Updike Literary Fiction Terrorist .8802958

3. Tom Robbins Literary Fiction Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates 1.097272

4. Gary Shteyngart Fiction Absurdistan: A Novel 1.117625

5. Ian McEwan Fiction Saturday 1.135522

6. Salman Rushdie Literary Fiction The Moor's Last Sigh 1.228756

7. Tom Robbins Literary Fiction Another Roadside Attraction 1.264306

8. Jonathan Raban Fiction Waxwings 1.266642

9. Barbara Chase-Riboud Historical Fiction Hottentot Venus: A Novel 1.310913

10. Herman Melville Fiction Classics Billy Budd, Sailor & Other Stories 1.376428

11. Peter Mayle Literary Fiction A Good Year 1.381948

12. Dean Koontz Suspense The Taking 1.391685

13. Miriam Decosta-Willis Erotica Erotique Noire/Black Erotica 1.409069

14. Dean Koontz Fiction By the Light of the Moon 1.414718

15. Kurt Andersen Fiction Heyday: A Novel 1.429005

16. Diana Gabaldon Fiction The Outlandish Companion 1.436414

17. Peter Mayle Fiction Chasing Cezanne: A Novel 1.452523

18. George MacDonald Fraser Historical Fiction Flashman on the March 1.520791

19. Nancy Reisman Fiction The First Desire 1.540411

20. Frederick Zugibe M.D. True Crime Dissecting Death: Secrets of a Medical Examiner 1.541348


p.s. sorry the columns don't line up quite right.

p.p.s. I just bought Terrorist by John Updike on and it will be the next book I read.

Sonicare Power

I got a new brush head for my sonicare toothbrush. This thing rattles my skull when the battery has a full charge. They must have done something radically different with the placement of the magnets or something else in the design of the head because the base I'm using has never been able to rock my head like this does. I can tell if the battery's wearing out because it feels normal. That extra power makes my teeth feel cleaner too.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Left Hand Release

Would you believe that they had a left hand release seatbelt on the plane on the flight home? A Delta operated Boeing plane. How unsafe!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Using Only Song Titles, Etc.

So, TBW posted a Facebook note with these Qs. I think you have to use only one artist's song titles to answer the Qs. He used Stereophonics and it was pretty good. Here's mine. Feel free to comment on the blog and change the answers to make them your own.

Pick Your Artist: Something Corporate
Are you male or female: Not what it seems
Describe yourself: Looks Like Chaplin
How do you feel about yourself: Ruthless
Describe where you currently live: I woke up in a car
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Cavanaugh Park
Your best friends are: Babies of the 80s
Your favorite color is: She paints me blue
You Know: Miss America
What's the weather like: Hurricane
If your life were a TV show, what would it be called? Globes & Maps
What is the best advice you have to give: Fall.
If you could change your name, what would it be: Straw Dog

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Praha, Česká Republica

It was a little bit hazy from rain all day. You can see Prague Castle (Pražský Hrad) and some flowers.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Why Delta's Baggage Policy Doesn't Make Sense

I just finished packing my suitcase for Prague and decided to weigh it. 65 lb. Delta's baggage weight limit for European flights is 50lb/bag. Otherwise you are assessed a fee of $150 for baggage between 51-70lb...EACH WAY!!! Not to mention that my bag exceeded the 62 linear inches was 64 linear inches. The fee for oversize baggage is $175 EACH WAY! On my $800 ticket, I could have ended up paying an extra $650 in fees!!!

Instead, Delta will charge $50 each way for me to take a second bag on the plane. {{WAIT...I just looked and because of when I purchased my ticket and the dates of my flights, the second bag is free!!!!!!!!}} Well, my empty suitcase weighs 15lb. Now instead of one 65lb bag, they have 2 x 40lb bags. Plus, the second bag is 57 linear inches! Note: when I remove some baggage from the big bag, I get it down to the allowed 62 linear inches. So, I'll maybe pay an extra $100 for bringing on a second bag. It's cheaper for me to bring on more weight and take up more space. WTF?

It's not like their employees can't lift 65lb. In fact, members of the military can check bags weighing up to 100lb.

I really wanted to take just one bag. It's a lot easier that way. Bam. Done. One bag. Delta's messing up my simplicity. On top of that, the first bag was packed tightly. Now there's a lot more space in the bags and things can move around more so they'll definitely get jostled.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Prius Drive By

I was watching the 3rd season of Weeds and Nancy ends up driving for a drive-by shooting in her Prius. The thug U-Turn liked the car because it's so quiet that you can sneak up on people unlike with non-hybrids. U-Turn bought 7 Priuses for him & his boys. I'm surprised that we haven't heard more about this phenomenon in the news. Is the fact that the Prius aesthetic doesn't jive with a Chevy riding high enough to outweigh its merits in the sneaky arena? Is this happening and nobody wants to do a story on it? Sounds like a good idea to me.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Watching Watson

Watson is living at my house for a little while. He got kicked out of Sarah's apartment. He's a really good cat, but the complex doesn't allow cats and her roommate was about to rat him out. It's easy for me to take care of him because he's allowed to do whatever he wants. Luckily he doesn't want to eat people food or rip my furniture to pieces. He usually just lays around being cute. Sometimes we play. I let him out at night and he doesn't wander too far. When he wants back in he just meows at my window until I wake up and let him in. Alternatively, he hits the window repeatedly with his paws. It's kind of nice to have an animal around. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and he's curled up at my feet. He doesn't like to sleep next to my back/chest anymore like he used to when he was smaller. Occasionally he'll bite my toes when I'm laying in bed. Not hard, just enough to get a reaction out of me.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

$60 Bread

Check out the hilighted part of this menu from a small diner in Georgia. I think (and hope) it's a typo. You'll probably have to click to enlarge the picture in order to read it.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Review: Headsweats Running Visor

I picked up a Headsweats running visor with a BlueSeventy logo at the expo for the Gulf Coast Triathlon. I wore it in the race. I was amazed that it smelled brand new later on that day after it dried out. It is now to the point where it doesn't still smell brand new. Anyway, I wasn't sure how I'd like the elastic that goes around my head. It's just about as good as the really sweet double-sided velcro that SweatVac uses. It's slightly disappointing that my visor doesn't have any reflective material.

When choosing a running visor, I think it's important to make sure that the underside of the bill is black in order to reduce glare.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Little Bit Dirty

I hate being just a little bit dirty. I will wash off a little bit of gunk on my arm or leg. I don't like being clean with the exception of stinky armpits. I loathe stepping in a puddle with one foot, especially if I'm wearing sneakers. It sucks to get oil or chain grease on my hands. I don't know what it is about being just a little dirty that bothers me. I don't mind being completely filthy. I can be covered in mud or sweat or vehicle fluids and be fine. I can have sawdust stuck in all the hair on my body and I'm not bothered by it. Is this phenomenon strange?

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Single Revolution

The Sarah Mac Band is releasing their new album one single at a time. You can get a free download of their latest single by adding your name to the mailing list at the top of (it won't send you multiple emails if you're already on the list). The free downloads last for about 2 weeks after the single is released.

What follows is a description of the Single Revolution idea as copied from a SMB email:
MORE big news from SMB land! By now, you've probably heard rumors about "A Single Revolution." Well.... here's what all the talk has been about.

Let’s hearken back to the days if old, and by that we mean the 1950’s and 1960’s. Some of you may not remember this time. It was definitely a different musical landscape from today, an era characterized by the ‘old 45’ record. The release of a single 45 by a band was always the coolest, biggest news and source of excitement.

Over the next few months, the Sarah Mac Band will borrow from said past era and release a series of singles. We have been feverishly working on new material and have several songs that we’re recording to share with our fans. We call it “ A Single Revolution,” a series of singles that will ultimately take you on a magical, musical Macband journey.

One of the big challenges we faced with project is the expense. It is very costly to release a series of singles. Since we’re all ‘indie’ and ‘do it yourself,’ we don’t have a big record label to underwrite our costs. We do, however, have loyal fans… Fans who have been there since the beginning, spreading the word, telling their friends, hanging out after shows, sending us encouraging emails, and always showing up, rain or shine (seriously… who remembers last summer?). Since we like you best, we thought that it would be fun if you, our fans, became our record label. Together, we’ll going to pull this one off.

On March 14th at Potbelly’s in Tallahassee, we will release the first single of the Revolution, our new song ‘Burden Beast.’ You may recall it from recent shows. With the recording, we have created a new and exciting interpretation of this song.

You may wonder how you could help finance this recording. We have already paid for ‘Burden Beast’ and will offer it as a free download on our website for 2 weeks after the release date. This is our gift to the fans that follow us, stick with us, and get our e-newsletter. Let’s face it; you guys are the reason we still exist. After 2 weeks it will be available for purchase on iTunes, but the email list fans will already have it for free. (See… there ARE advantages to being on the email list!)

There will also be a select few who will also have the opportunity to help finance the next single. We will press a limited run of 100 CDs of ‘Burden Beast.’ Each CD will be numbered for authenticity, signed by the band and sold for $10.

$10 may seem like a lot for just one song, but ultimately you are getting much more than a CD with one song on it. First, it is one of only 100 limited edition singles that will be sold. We will never press any more of this CD no matter what we are offered. With the purchase of a CD, you also receive a password that will give you access to a special place on our website containing videos and extras about ‘Burden Beast’ and ‘A Single Revolution.’

More importantly, your $10 will be used to finance the next single. When we sell the 100 ‘Burden Beast” recordings, we will put out the next single… Thanks in large part to our financial backers (that would be you). The new CD will list the people who made it possible, our record label, namely, the ones who bought the first CD.

The second single, "Something Beautiful" was just released and the download is available. Like Immortal Technique, SMB encourages you to burn it off the internet and bump it outside. I'm looking forward to all the next releases. I really want to get the sugar song and the I'm not scared of anything song. Hurry up and buy all 100 of their CDs so I can get track 3!

Pick #130

Mirah - "The Dogs of B.A."

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Galax Leaves

While I was in Virginia we were visiting Mildred, the aunt of one of my cousins. She's 90 years old and super awesome still. I noticed a painting at her house because I liked it. Noted the artist. Mildred said that she is good friends with the artist. Later we were at my great aunt & uncle's place. They had a couple paintings by the same artist with similar subject matter. I thought it was cool. Finally, I saw one of these paintings at the place I was staying. That was the last straw. I liked all of them. I needed to find if I could get one. I looked up the artist, Lona Cox, in the phone book and called her. She said that her house was her studio and I could stop by because she'd be home for most of the rest of the day. She was super nice when we met and I really like most of her work. I thought I'd get a print because they're cheaper, but I ended up snagging the piece pictured here for $50, including the frame and everything (its print was $35, unframed). She said that she just lowered its price because people aren't buying art these days.

It was only days earlier on this trip that I learned about the Galax leaf from which the city takes its name. It was an important part of the local economy in the early years because it was used in floral arrangements in (farther) northern parts of the country. The leaves stay green or can turn a rich brown if not watered. They are protected in the area's national parks. This is a significant souvenir that I can keep for a very long time and I hope that others will like it as much as I do.