Friday, July 31, 2009

Napping Saves Lives. And Fingers

I was pleased to read in the New York Times yesterday that napping is okay. Not that anyone ever doubted it. Every year or two some major news outlet feels compelled to run a story about this obvious truth. I think the only people who denigrate the napper are those who can't nap themselves -- or won't allow themselves to. I've denied myself many a needed siesta for the sake of a deadline or some sense of higher purpose when, in fact, no purpose is ever served by a groggy servant. If I look back on just the last few years and count the accidents or near-misses I've had -- lacerated nerve on the bandsaw, rolled tractor, smashed thumb in hitch -- all of them took place at the time of day when I usually nap. I'd be far better off today if I had, and that's the way I look at each nap I take. I don't know on any given day what horrible thing I've spared myself as I tuck into my office sofa, but I can drift into a happy sleep ticking them off in my head: compound leg fracture, punctured eyeball, torn rotator cuff, write something really stupid in a blog and post it...


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Updating the Dated

Many of you have sent me kind notes over the past many months requesting that my earlier audio programs be released on CD and in down loadable formats. We've been working on that and if you go to the Bookshelf page of this website you'll see that The Free Fall of Webster Cummings has recently made the transition as well as The End of the Road. My publisher and I have made the decision to release my first two books of commentary, As Far As You Can Go Without A Passport and Small Comforts, as a one volume compilation to be titled It's Just Like I Told You: Twenty-Five Years of Comments and Comic Pieces. Most of this material appeared originally as commentary on NPR's All Things Considered starting in 1984.

It has been interesting if not entirely excruciating to go back over this material. I'm reading it again with an eye toward culling some of the stuff that probably shouldn't have been there in the first place and some of the stuff that was appropriate at the time, but reads as dated and naive now. It's a squirmy task. Everything in those books was heartfelt once, but like the the sentiments you might find in your old high school literary magazines, it's not necessarily something you want to share with the world -- again. I also plan to add some commentary I've done since my All Things Considered years to demonstrate, I suppose, that I did learn a little something about something since 1984. Or at least since high school. Definitely since high school.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Technical Foul

Okay. I've been faking it for awhile. Our server issues were cleared up over a week ago, but I somehow found it easy to stay out of this space. Pretend I wasn't home. Peek out the window to see who's at the door. This happens to me from time to time. I suppose it's a form of depression, but not the clinical kind. I think of it more as a technical depression, as in technological. In other words, sometimes all of this technology depresses me.

I have a complicated relationship with my high tech stuff. To be perfectly truthful I find it all irresistible. In addition to the standard fare of phones, DVD players, flat-screens, and iPods I own three computers all capable of mind-bending feats of art, organization, and calculation. I use them to type on for the most part. Sort family photos. Shop for used tools on eBay and Craigslist. There's nothing I use these computers for that I couldn't and didn't do before I had them. The difference is that it is so much faster and easier to do now. This ought to put time back into my life but it doesn't. It's so fast and easy I just do more of it.

And every once in awhile it all breaks down and I have to stop. That's what happened for a couple of days two weeks ago. My website went down. My blog crashed. My email server became unavailable. My excellent web guy and I spent way too much time on the phone with customer service people in exotic foreign locations. There were accounts to be verified. Passwords recalled. Indecipherable series of numbers and decimals appeared in my phone notes. I dropped my iPhone in the sink and the sounds stopped working. We think an electrical storm took out our WiFi router. By the time it was all fixed I was broken.

I took a trip with my 3-year-old to see my 24-year-old. I didn't take a laptop. I mowed the lower field -- finally. I started cutting the frame for the arbor to go over the pergola out back. I laid out a new fence line along the east side. I sharpened all my hand planes and scrapers to get back to work on a table for good friends that is six months overdue. I picked some raspberries.

And now I'm back feeling much better, thank you. I'll never lie to you again.*

*[asterisk denotes unidentified caveat to be named later]

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Everybody Gotta Server Somebody

My web host is going through some sort of mid-life crisis -- or perhaps a teen hormonal surge --and has stopped taking my calls. It has jazzed up its controls and protocols and left us here at scratching our heads, trying to understand, and seeking counsel. We've lost some previous posts on this blog, and we're having trouble uploading new ones. Check back often, we'll get to the bottom of it soon.



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