Saturday, January 29, 2011


Over the last few days and week, I've been sporadically picking up House of Leaves to reread. This morning, while Lynda was napping to recover from her chaperon time at last night's Girl Scout sleepover, I finished things up while the girls played.

Now, I didn't sit down and read the book through again. Mostly I opened it up near the beginning to where the last bookmark was and starting reading the Navidson family parts. (I skipped the Johnny Truant/Zampano parts, as I have tended to do the last two or three times I've reentered the book.)

It is the story of the house exploration that has always interested me the most since I first read it. And whenever I do reread it, it always reminds me of those first few years at my job and those people that I worked with then, who have become my close friends. Though we are not all together anymore and even the ones of us who are still working are doing so in very different capacities than  before, this book always conjures up that time.

That time when I transitioned from grad school into the working life. That time when my family began to grow. That time when I started really figuring out who the adult me was going to be. That time that led me to this time.

House of Leaves is a book that I have blogged on before and I've probably spent some time in a previous post several years ago attempting to describe the plots of the narrative. (So, now might be a good time to try the search feature that I have helpfully located in the side bar of my blog. See if you can successfully search for mentions of the book in past entries. And if you do find something, why not mention it in the comments below? And provide a helpful link to the URL? The digital world is supposed to be a collaborative medium after all.)

But, if none of that works out, I'm sure you can find information about the book online. (Heck, I'll probably go searching after I'm done writing this to see what I can find that I've forgotten about in the past.)

HoL is the closest thing I can find that approximates the reading challenge that was Infinite Jest, the other significant book that conjures up the time period that I was mentioning a few paragraphs above. (And I am excitedly looking forward to David Foster Wallace's posthumous novel The Pale King.) Both IJ and HoL challenge the reader in multiple ways--narratively, chronologically, visually. Both are mind-bendingly complex, and both make you wonder what you have learned when you are done. Such complexity, of course, lends itself to repeated visits, hoping that you learn a bit more each time.

So, if you are looking for something new and you want a challenge, House of Leaves is a good recommendation.

Just don't expect it to be an easy read on a Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Yeah, its Saturday morning.

And I'm dancing to Beck and wearing my Admiral Ackbar t-shirt.

You got a problem with that?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Today's Business Truth

In my experience, whenever my projects shift from Phase A to Phase B (or between B and C . . . whenever, really) the first day is full of Panic because:

i.) there aren't enough people to take on the additional workload.

ii.) we're still behind on the previous Phase's work (and see also item i above).

But usually by the next day, the expected hopelessness kicks in and you become numb to the predicament. (Because i and ii aren't going anywhere anyway).

-- Posted From My iPhone (so, I apologize in advance for any typos I missed)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Thoughts and things untyped

When I sat down earlier today, I didn't explain part of the obstacle that has made blogging harder. Well, I suppose there are a few things.

1. My laptop has finally given up on my. (This is my personal laptop, I suppose I should clarify--though I don't really know why you need such clarification.) My iBook G4 has been my blogging tool of choice ever since I began in 2004. But sometime within the last year, as I'm sure I've mentioned at least once, something got jammed into the disk drive slot. And while the machine still functioned, the drive was constantly trying to eject whatever had been placed there by the kid(s). So, there was always a bit of whirring and clunking and general distress.

But I soldiered on, writing, surfing, and syncing from it. Until, around Christmas the whirring and clunking transformed into a serious, sustained grinding. And I knew that pulling the plug was inevitable. But all of my digital pictures and iTunes music was on that machine! What would I do?

Everything important was backed up onto a portable external drive, so I wasn't worried about losing stuff. But I didn't know how I would be able to move my iPhone dependencies away from its original home. And then someone at work reminded me that even if I was syncing my iPhone away from a Mac and onto the home PC, it was still looking at iTunes. And so I installed the latest version of iTunes on the PC and hooked up the separate hard drive.

After about thirty minutes of downloading, hey presto! The home computer was brimming with all of my songs and podcasts again. I have to made a few adjustments to get my contacts loading in the right place again, but it was painless. (I had mistakenly feared I would have to re-rip all of my disks.)

But then . . . the real test. Syncing the iPhone to a PC rather than a Mac. I just took the plunge and plugged it in. A few minor things were lost (nothing I can't reconfigure), but in a weekend night's work, I was back in business.

Yet, this transfer causes a problem, as we are all competing for use of the computer now. Sarah and Grace want to watch videos or play computer games. Hannah wants Mickey Mouse Clubhouse stuff. I want to blog, surf, and sync. Lynda also wants those same things. And there is only one machine, one keyboard, one chair.

Now, this shouldn't really affect me that much since my second problem about not blogging is . . .

2. I never have time to do it until the kids are asleep and then either I have to a.) work or b.) don't want to do anything at all, much less think of something interesting to say or construct something worth displaying. And that second impulse has been another problem.

3. In the past, I was sort of rigid about my blogging expectations. I tried not to do more than one post per day, figuring (stupidly, probably) that maintaining something of a schedule would encourage people to look for the site and establish expectations. I guess I thought that if I was throwing out small things all the time, who would possibly keep up? But doing one, larger thing on a more predictable basis would encourage constant viewership.

Now, I realize that my minuscule following probably doesn't deserve such "strategy." But you've gotta start somewhere and with some expectations, right? Yet, as work pressures and life made the schedule break down, any readership expectations dried up quickly, I'm sure. And then there was . . .

4. My Twitter account, which gave me a different digital outlet for quick "blog-like" hits and thoughts and ways to throw out links. As I have used Twitter more and more, my WWYG?! blog has suffered more and more. And I've tried to find ways to work the two together into a partnership of sorts, but I don't know how to do it effectively. And so that is part of my ongoing struggle. Not to mention the weird mystery of Tumblr. How might THAT work? (And yet, I know it would only make things worse, most likely.)

So, those are all reasons for why things have been challenging here on WWYG?! in recent months. And those are things I didn't have/take the time to write down this morning. But if I can loosen myself up a bit and not be so narrow minded in my posts, I'll be better at throwing down this stuff more often. It'll be longer than a tweet and more substantial than anything I want to say on Facebook.

Now . . . I've got to

1.) straighten up the kitchen and
2.) kick Sarah off the PC, so I can start prepping my photos for the upcoming Disney Day 2 post. (Really! It'll happen!)

To Do List

As you can tell, it's been a really long time since I was blogging on a regular basis. But as my fellow blogging friend Sven has often typed, writing is a process. So I just need to find a way to work the process and the discipline back into my life. It may always be something that I squeeze in between all of my other duties and choices, but I hope it will be a more regular choice going forward.

I still have to report and describe so many interesting things that have been happening in my life. I left everyone hanging on the family trip to Disney World (something that Mr. Lileks would NEVER have done). I took you all the way to the front gate of the park, even to our quaint little cabin and put you to bed for the night. But then . . . what? Well, I've still got several days of park adventures to describe--some of which are pretty fun . . . if I can remember it all. Luckily, I've got pictures to help jog my memory a bit.

And there are always funny things that my kids are saying and doing that might spur an idea. So, I've got to keep an eye on that (though my Twitter feed is where a lot of that stuff usually falls first). You can see that via my WWYTwitter tab on this page.

And I've also got other projects that have been hanging in the wind for a loooong, loong time. Such as my thesis transcription and many, many other things.

But now, my time for squeezing stuff into a window of opportunity is done. And I've got to do other things. Perhaps next time I won't simply present a laundry list of things I've got to do, but will actually do one of them.