Welcome to whatever is on my mind!

Some people use the term "nonsense" but I prefer to use the phrase "uncommonly sensed" because it's more reflective of creative types.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Book Review: Insane City by Dave Barry

I received a free advance review copy of Dave Barry’s new book Insane City, which released yesterday in hardcover.  Here’s an excerpt from the description of the book:

“Seth Weinstein knew Tina was way out of his league in pretty much any way you could imagine, which is why it continued to astonish him that he was on the plane now for their destination wedding in Florida. The Groom Posse had already sprung an airport prank on him, and he’d survived it, and if that was the worst of it, everything should be okay. Smooth sailing from now on.

As it turns out, it’s not smooth sailing, it’s more like a trip on the Titanic. And the water below him is getting deeper every minute. By the end, amid gunfire, high-speed chases, and mayhem of the most unimaginable sort, violent men will fall, heroes will rise, and many lives will change.

Seth’s, not least of all.”

I’m a fan of Dave Barry’s nonfiction. How could I not be, considering that we share the same hobby of making up bands names?  However, I confess that I have never read any of his fiction before this book.

My first impression is that this reads more like a movie instead of a book, especially given the way that the dialog is written and the scenes described. In fact, this would probably make a great summer movie for people who enjoy films such as Bridesmaids and The Hangover. There are so many wacky things taking place and the plot moves constantly. Throughout the book Dave put his characters in some hilarious, not to mention embarrassing, situations.

While some of the general plot is predictable, most of the specific (and often bizarre) situations are not and the book is full of one liners that will make you laugh out loud. While this isn’t great literature or a book with thought provoking insights, it continues to do what Dave Barry does best: makes you laugh.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Notes on The Treadmill of Life

Sometimes it feels like we’re stuck on the treadmill of life and it can feel like we’re continually running and going nowhere, so it’s important to maintain a healthy perspective at all times. I’ve made a list of reminders for myself to help with this. These may be useful to some of you, so here they are:

1. The treadmill is there for you: you are not there for the treadmill.  Don’t let it consume you.
2. Trials and tribulations are like putting the treadmill on an incline.  These moments will be painful, but your butt will thank you later for the awesome shape it’s in. (Note: insert “soul” in place of “butt” to make this sound more intellectual).

3. If you don’t get off the treadmill once in awhile you’re going to get a serious cramp.  Vacations prevent cramps.  In addition, your cramps impact everyone in the gym of life - so don’t be selfish and work yourself into painful spasms that cause you to disrupt the world with your annoying screams. You really do need a rest once in awhile.

4. Take time to think about where you are and where you’re going. The treadmill doesn’t actually move. It’s a process and not a destination, so slow down.  You won’t get there any faster than the guy on the treadmill next to you - running faster will only shorten your time. 
5. Cross training makes you a better person. Try something new once in awhile.

Like exercise, life is something that you shouldn’t just talk about. Get out there and live it.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Don't Fear the Reading

I recently attended an event where I heard one of the speakers say that he didn’t read any fiction books if he didn’t like the author’s message. I realize that we all have different reasons for why we read the things we read, but I lose respect for people who tell me they don’t read a particular author because they disagree with the message.

One of the key issues with this statement is that there is no way to know an author’s message until you’ve read the book. So there’s an underlying issue that this individual doesn’t want to listen to viewpoints different from his own. If his primary desire is to be closed minded, then why is he reading at all? Reading opens up worlds. If your desire is to enclose your world as much as possible, then opening a book is the wrong place to go.

Just because an author has different religious or political beliefs doesn’t mean that the author can’t tell a story or has nothing valuable to say. If the author views the world differently, it can get us thinking about our own views in a way that strengthens and refines them. This is a good thing.

The Murakami quote in the meme at the top of this post is one of my favorites. Reading stretches the mind and opens up worlds. Reading books from different perspectives is an artistic dialog between the author and reader. No one has to be right or wrong. It’s really about the conversation. And the more we converse, the more potential we have to make the world we live in a better pace.

So don't be afraid to read about different perspectives. You may even discover new things about yourself.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Making Up Band Names ... Again!

Been a little swamped in the new year, but I suddenly realized that I haven’t made up any new band names for awhile. So here we go ...

Illicit label
A Rap/ Hip Hop band that cross markets in the liquor industry to endorse a spirit of the same name. Whenever I’m in the “Wine and Spirits” store I often ask the manager for the section of “slightly mischievous but not quite evil spirits,” so perhaps Illicit Label Spirits will use my tag line on the bottles and it they will say: “slightly mischievous, but not quite evil. Illicit in both label and attitude.”

Eyesore Across the Alley
A Grunge Band, of course. All the band photos should be taken in alleys where famous people have died.

Small Gods
This is the name of one of my favorite books by Terry Pratchett and as soon as I saw the title I thought it would be an awesome band name. So here it is. After all, rock stars are really small gods in our culture so why not be honest about it?

Downtown Beaver Dam
A bluegrass band.  That jug player better hit his pitch or we’re not letting him choose the contents of the jug.

Crime Slut
This is another all girl band and all I can visualize is black leather and glossy red lips. If you dress the women appropriately it doesn’t matter what they sound like.

Your Conscience
I just think it would be funny for the band to announce “Thank you for coming to hear us. We are Your Conscience.”

For those of you who missed them, my previous posts on band names with such classics as “Funky Cupcake” and “Pancake Maggots” are located here and here.  Enjoy and keep rocking in the new year!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Timing in The New Year

 I don’t make new year’s resolutions and I pay little attention to the calendar cycle. In fact, I started following John Lennon’s advice and stopped counting my life by years so long ago that whenever I’m asked my age I have to calculate it. For those of you unfamiliar with the quote, John said, “Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears.” I measure my life by the quality of the friends I have and not the quantity.

We put so much emphasis on taking stock of our lives at the end of a calendar year, but I’ve learned that the seasons of life rarely follow this schedule. The Bible tells us that there is a time for every season under heaven. However, our individual seasons don’t always follow nature’s patterns and cycles.

I make new resolutions when I need them. Timing is everything, so don’t wait for the calendar to tell you when to make a change. Make it when the time is right.

Here are the two rules I follow when it comes to making resolutions:
1. The time to make a change is when you realize that you need it.
2. The time to move forward is always.

Secondly, it’s always an appropriate time to surround yourself with the right people. These are the ones that aren’t usually born into your family but that you’re lucky enough to find. The ones who inspire you and help you to become the best version of you possible. If there was a new year’s resolution worth making, it would be to spend more time with these people and develop those relationships in the coming year. Two of my favorite quotes explain why:

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
    ― Marcel Proust

“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”
    ― John Lennon

Happy New Year. May you develop the most positive relationships, and may you work together with those you love to make your dreams reality.