January 22nd, 2003

flavored with age

Snot-freezing time

Wet crackly Christ, is it cold out today. I walk to work, which allows me a fairly hyperbole-free shot at determining exactly how cold it really is, especially when I cross the river. And man, it's goddamn cold. Of course, Minnesotans will scoff at this claim, as they always do, but screw them. Their only claim to fame is being the only place colder than Chicago.

The very first entry I did on my web log was about books on tape, and was, as you might expect, pretty disdainful. However, on these deathly-chill days, I can see the appeal of them. I do a lot of walking these days, as well as working out and waiting for buses and trains, and that's all dead time that I would like to be reading. But when you try and read in this weather, you drop the book because you're wearing gloves (or, if you aren't wearing gloves, your hands get frostbitten). Or the wind blows the pages around so you can't read. Or the whole thing just solidifies into a frozen lump. (I do not lie. I saw a construction weight this morning -- one of those bags of sand to weigh down a road sign -- and it was frozen. FROZEN SAND, PEOPLE.)

So, in a situation like that, I can see the appeal of books on tape. The problem is, the kind of books it is profitable to record on tape are not the kind I am interested in reading. When I see the audiobooks section of a bookstore, it tends to be a lot of Tom Clancy and Dave Barry and Deepak Chopra, and not a lot of Don DeLillo and Myles nagCopaleen and Lewis Mumford.

Incidentally, I once considered starting a business where I would do just that: record books on tape of material that wasn't otherwise commonly available. I abandoned it for three reasons: my customer base would be so miniscule it would not even begin to cover the expense; I would get sued; and my voice sounds like a choked boar.
flavored with age

Plugging inward

Speaking of my log, the one-year anniversary of that questionable endeavor is coming up in only 12 days. If you are so inclined, why not e-mail me with suggestions, requests, commands, demands or queries? The best will be acted upon, fulfilled, obeyed, met and answered on the site the week of February 3rd.
flavored with age

For all the tardcore heads

What kind of a world is it where Pharoahe Monch can't even get a record deal, and the Cash Money Millionaires are, well, millionaires?

Also, on the impatience tip, this goes out to Can Ox: get off your asses and make another record, already.
flavored with age

Buy it now! Don't think about it!

The Amazon Gold Box is a nifty feature. For those who don't know, it's a list of 10 products, regenerated afresh daily, that amazon.com offers its customers at deep discounts. The hitch is, you have to buy the products as soon as you see them, or they're gone forever at that price.

Like a lot of computer technology, it's really more what you'd call "neat" and less what you'd call "useful"; for instance, unlike a lot of internet retailer recommendations, it doesn't seem to be tied to your preferences or previous purchases. It's apparently completely random, which admittedly can be fun, because occasionally you'll get items like I was offered today (a personal breathalyzer, a pink baby jumper and a "Wine for Dummies" book, suggesting that Amazon thinks I'm an alcoholic, stupid deadbeat dad). But as a practical shopping tool, it's not all that useful; it's like a salesman at a department store leading you at random around the store, picking up various items, and saying "Hey, how about this? You wanna buy this? Come on, it's cheap."

In fact, while I don't pretend my buying habits are typical of anyone, I personally have never wanted to buy anything that the Gold Box has shown me, nor do I know anyone else who has been enticed by the Gold Box. Which leads me to my question: has anyone ever bought a Gold Box item? Is it an effective sales tool? Or is it just the web designers showing off and giving people like me something to snicker at?

Mmmmmm, Snickers.