Tag Archives: environment

In Their Natural Habitat

After a day of open-mall shopping, my girlfriend and I returned to our vehicle in the parking lot, behind which was a gaggle of seagulls embroiled in a noisy grand melee over a paper bag full of discarded food.

“Seagulls in their natural habitat,” she noted.

Seagulls in their natural habitat.  on Twitpic

In further conversation, we agreed that they probably couldn’t catch a fish if their life depended on it, seeing as–thanks to human influence–the diet of an average seagull now consists of equal parts french fries and cheesy puffs.

The manner in which I spent the day made me think deeper on what I was seeing.  Despite the ability of humans to change our habits and our lifestyles, we’ve done ourselves no favors: are we so different from seagulls, given our fluttering about, loud complaining about anything and everything, and our focus on getting our share of the fries?

On Shaving (LIKE A MAN)

There’s some deep part of my psyche/DNA/gooey insides that tells me nothing is more manly than scraping my face with bare, sharpened steel.  Perhaps unfortunately, the rest of me agreed–or was too wussy to fight that other part for fear of getting clobbered.

At any rate, that led to me researching straight razors about a year ago, which then got put off, and has culminated so far in my buying a Dovo shavette, which is basically a plastic handle that houses disposable straight blades.

So far, no portions of my face have gone missing.  But shaving with a straight razor is difficult at first.

It requires learning a new skill.  And using said razor in my left hand. I have to remember that I have roughly 15 years of shaving experience with a normal razor.  Combined with a normal safety razor requiring nothing in the way of skill, it’s no surprise that shaving with a straight razor has required some adjustments.  Much like when I started shaving my head, it’ll take time to become proficient and not feel like I’m liable to lop something off at any given moment.  By now, shaving my head is routine, and so I hope that, with practice, a straight razor will be, too.

Part of the appeal was to try to reduce the amount of waste I’m producing.  I feel guilty every time I toss away a used cartridge and pop in a new one.  Granted, my current razor uses disposable blades, as well (no plastic), but I bought it as sort of a trial run before I spend $200 or more on a more permanent razor.

Another part is to hopefully get a better shave.  Often it looks like I haven’t shaved even when I just finished shaving, and my skin gets too irritated if I try to make multiple passes. So hopefully once my skills are up to speed, the quality of the shave I get will go up as well.

A big reason to switch, too, is purely for the sense of doing something “the old way” and trying something new.  We didn’t always have these cartridges-on-a-stick.  Used to be, men (MANLY MEN?) would strop and hone a metal blade and then rub it on their face.  Or else have a barber do it for them.  Only in recent times have companies tried to sell us better and better solutions for doing the things we’ve always done.

Are safety razors easy?  For sure.  After shaving with a straight razor, I have a whole new appreciation for how easy they make the process.

But easy can be bad.  Easy means I don’t have to pay attention.  I’ve come to resent the act of shaving, which seems a crime.  It’s one of the few ritual acts men have that, to me, carries some sense of history and propriety.  Shaving with a straight razor also requires that I pay attention to what I’m doing. I can’t space out and think about other things, or I’ll cut myself.  And those things are sharp.

There’s another part of me, one that’s zen-like, I suppose, that finds the idea of being present and paying attention to the current moment rather fulfilling.  And I’d rather not hate something I need to do every day.  The manly thing is mostly in jest.  It’s possible that I’ll go back to a safety razor.  We’ll see.  At least I’ll have tried.  If I can turn around how I feel about  shaving by changing the tools I use, so much the better.

In the meantime, my pride leaks out in tiny red rivulets accompanied by stinging and swear words, but perhaps I’ll appreciate the process even more once I get the hang of it.

Proofreading on the Kindle

I’ve had my new Kindle v3 for about two weeks now.  It’s my first Kindle, so I’m still getting used to the whole thing, but overall I love it so far.

About a week ago, I was due for a read-through of MOROCCO, yet I also wanted to read something on my shiny new toy.  Then bingo: I combined the two.

And I have to say that I think I’m going to make the Kindle a big part of my proofreading process.  Not in the beginning, when I have to scribble notes to myself and draw so many squiggles and arrows and boxes that my manuscript looks more like a football play sheet, but after a few revisions, most of that work has been done and then it’s a matter of finding smaller mistakes and things that need tuned a little more.

The Kindle makes this easy in a few ways.

  1. the screen is an awful lot like paper, and I found that I caught mistakes on it that I missed when reading on my computer screen.
  2. I don’t have to print as many copies of my story.  This saves paper and waste and suchlike.  All I do is delete the copy on the kindle and email myself the new one.
  3. the notes feature.  As I’m reading, I still get the benefit of being able to “scribble” notes to myself via the notes interface on the kindle.  The bonus here is using the “My notes” feature:  It gives me a list of all the annotations that I’ve made, three per “screen page,” and includes both the surrounding text and the actual note.  This made it ridiculously easy to go back through my manuscript on the computer (via Scrivener), find the places, and make my changes/rewrites.  Then I deleted all the notes since I don’t need to save my mistakes for posterity.

You Can’t Have It Both Ways

“I think it’s fair to say, if six months ago, before this spill had happened, I had gone up to Congress and I had said we need to crack down a lot harder on oil companies and we need to spend more money on technology to respond in case of a catastrophic spill, there are folks up there, who will not be named, who would have said this is classic, big-government overregulation and wasteful spending.

Some of the same people who are saying the president needs to show leadership and solve this problem are some of the same folks who, just a few months ago, were saying this guy is trying to engineer a takeover of our society through the federal government that is going to restrict our freedoms.”

Barack Obama, in a new interview

Which Is More Damaging? Oil or Filesharing?

Which Is More Damaging? Oil or Filesharing?:

RIAA plaintiffs are seeking 1.5 trillion dollars in damages.  How much does BP owe?

via twitter.com/ThisCJ