Tuesday, May 24, 2005

treadmill desk

This article, while interesting, is made extra cool by the treadmill desk (photo, which you can enlarge).

Sunday, May 15, 2005

swedish delights

christie and i drove up to ithaca yesterday afternoon, and are now staying at mom's place. last night we decided to meet up with jamie and a happily pregnant rebecca for dinner at the moosewood. it was everything we'd hoped for, and more. at the table next to us was a couple with a couple of fiddle cases. christie asked them if there was some music happening, and the next thing we knew, mom, christie and i were at someone's house west of ithaca at a swedish dance.

there was a band, which christie and i joined, playing scandanavian music. swedish tunes are often in a minor key, and always simple (relative to irish tunes) and slow. the dances involve some walking a la contra, but also some complicated turning - sort of swing-your-partner, but in a carefully laid out rhythm of three. even mom danced a little. :-)

the house was incredible - the upper floor where we danced and played was a big open room, with huge windows overlooking a pond surrounded by trees. it was, as christie put it, "an artist's version of a mansion". the band, which we joined, was a couple of fiddles, a mondolin, and a guitar. there were ten or so people dancing, some of them quite expertly.

a more spontaneous way to spend the evening than any in recent memory, thanks mostly to christie. the moral of the story: to have fun, just follow the fiddles.

Friday, May 13, 2005

books: a prayer for owen meany

last night, i finished reading a prayer for owen meany by john irving (thanks dad for catching my mistake). a brilliant story, with an incredible, movie-style ending. actually, the satisfaction i felt at reading the ending was similar to what i felt when i saw the shawshank redemption. if you've seen that remarkable film, you'll know what i mean: everything ties together nicely, and every little fact finally makes sense.

the owen character is the most fascinating and funny of any i've read recently. he seems to know the future, but not enough to understand it. this is a very christ-like quality that i've heard little of spoken in church: as the gospel tells it, christ knows that he'll be killed (and even that one of the disciples will betray him), but not necessarily when or how, as he seems surprised at certain turns of events (e.g. "...why hast thou forsaken me?..."). (ed: all you theologians out there, of the armchair variety or not as the case may be, please correct my quick and loose interpretation of the christian story as needed. i intend no sacrilege.) owen is remarkable - his magnetically confident faith (in himself, and in the future that god has laid out for him) inspires not just the townspeople, but the reader as well.

this is also the first time i've ever seen an author attempt to make a character "sound" a certain way. everything owen says is CAPITALIZED LIKE THIS in the text, owing to his "permanent scream".

great reading. but don't take my word for it - read it yourself.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

big cat

most emailed article on the times today is this story (sorry - registration required - i'll get a non-reg link up shortly) about the "savannah", a cross between a house cat and a wildcat known as the african serval. it's a 35 pound animal with a very dog-like personality. look at the article photos - really quite beautiful.

this might be the perfect compromise between dog and cat people. at $5k (minimum), however, it's a big compromise.

p.s. regarding nytimes and other websites that need registration logins, etc., try looking at bugmenot.com. lots of free id/password combinations.