31 October 2006

Blogging for Attention but Not All Snoop Dog and Reese Witherspoon

It's interesting to watch the blogging world vie for attention in a constantly changing world. Like the Michael McDonald character, Stewart, on Mad TV, there are now millions of people calling out "Look what I can do!" and often offering something about as impressive as Stewart's goofy side jump. Bloggers are seeking ways to get more traffic, more listings, more links. And because this is a medium born of geekitude, there are plenty of ways to rack and stack blog rank.

I'm thinking the people that really master riding the wave of the next big thing and the next big thing and the next big thing really ought to be leading advertising companies. Maybe blogging IS the future of advertising. Or is advertising the future of blogging?

They say the recent airplane hit in New York, that turned out NOT to be a terrorist hit, got communicated very quickly thanks to the internet, and in particular, blogs! So it's not ALL Snoop Dog and Reese Witherspoon. But we do love to dish the dirt, don't we?!

30 October 2006

My Family/BBC America

BBC America has been showing "My Family", a clever comedy staring
Robert Lindsay (G.B.H, Oliver Twist) and Zoe Wanamaker (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Gormenghast) as well as Kris Marshall, Daniela Denby-Ashe and Gabriel Thomson. It's by acclaimed U.S. sitcom writer Fred Barron, whose credits include Seinfeld, The Larry Sanders Show, and Caroline in the City. Great stuff. JoeBob says "Check it out!"

Finn & Porter--An elegant place to have a cocktail

Finn & Porter in Alexandria has a very nice space for sipping a Rob Roy or such. Plus they have a sushi bar as part of the bar and there's even vegetarian sushi options. The restaurant proper has a lovely view of the fall leafery out the back, which is viewable from the bar, too. The service is solicitous and knowledgeable.

27 October 2006

Ick! The growing Dada trend as protest to the Iraq war

According to http://www.dadaboom.com/dada.html 's "Brief History of Dadaism"

The movement was devoted to the negation of all traditional values in philosophy and the arts. Its form was a protest against what its leaders felt was the insane destruction of civilized life and thought during World War I. The Dada review proclaimed it's intention to replace logic and reason with deliberate madness and to substitute intentionally discordant chaos for established notions of beauty or harmony in the arts.

ANOTHER Dada exhibit has hit town. This time hosted by the District of Columbia Arts Center. Was the sizable exhibit at the National Gallery just a few months ago, with it's horribly depressing, discordant and disturbing "art" not enough?

All I can think is that this must be a form of protest against the current horribly depressing, discordant and disturbing war.


26 October 2006

You traveled WHERE?? I HATED that place!!!

I tend to couch my opinions as just that: "Well, I thought it was good" or "We really liked it" because tastes vary and I hate to set expectations only to have it come back to haunt me.

Reminds me of the time my sister wanted a recommendation for a restaurant in Little Italy (Baltimore). I'd been to Sabatino's and heartily recommended it. She went and hated it. Completely different experience. From her description, I'd wondered if it was somehow possible that she'd been in a completely different restaurant. But, no. Well, even great restaurants have an off night. That's why critics go back several times before they write their review.

Recently, a work colleague (is that redundant?? do you have non-work colleagues? hmmm) went to Sandals. Not likely because I recommended it but I'd been to three of them and raved about them in conversations. I worried that she wouldn't like it. Crazy, I know. What's it to me if she disagrees with my assessment. Still, I'd feel a little guilty raving about some place to someone and then they go and hate it. She didn't. She went to Sandals Negril (Jamaica), one I haven't been to, by the way, and loved it. Yay! Rediculously, I feel pleased. Pleased for her. Pleased for Sandals. Pleased for me. Go figure.

You mean you just watched?!/The art and blunder of mass mail fund raising

I received two different solicitations for money in today's mail. They were both from animal welfare organizations. Generally, I'm a soft touch when it comes to animals. Not today.

One letter begins with such graphic details that I got no further than the second sentence. To me, this is almost as bad as graphic photos. I understand why they do it but I don't support organizations that use this tactic.

The other lettter begins: "Tired and thin, she walked hesitantly down the alleyway. In the weeks since she had been thrown out of the car, Maggie had searched for food and a safe, warm place to give birth. Barely more than a kitten herself she found life alone on the streets to be hard. She had been chased away from the little food she did find by other cats who claimed it for themselves. And trying to find a place to sleep that was protected from the cold night air was just about impossible."

So, wait, ... you watched this happen?! You saw a cat being thrown out of a vehicle and then tracked its progress for weeks without offering it any assistance --because how else would you know this!?--but you want me to send you money to improve this situation? Um, right. Um, pass.

25 October 2006

When Worlds Collide

So I'm listening to Penn's radio program yesterday and it's Tuesday. That means on the program it's "Monkey Tuesday". It's an entertaining, strange weekly event where people call in with a variety of monkey-related stories.

As I pull into my court, I see the line up of parked cars because my neighbor has bible study every Tuesday.

And in that moment worlds collide--Monkey Tuesday, Bible Tuesday. Inherit the Wind (a long, very boring movie) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053946/ flashes to mind.

24 October 2006

"I'm somebody now!"--The Jerk, Part II: Another blog linked to my blog

It's true! I was updating my ping on Technorati (who says I can't GeekSpeak?!) and I noticed there were four links to my blog. Three are alter-ego's on different blogging sites (non-Blogger.com) to allow me to comment on sites that demand an account in their own universe. But then there was another one:

"Thumb drives and oven clocks
3 days ago in Thumb drives and oven clocks by thegrue · 43 blogs link here
I do what I want. Still, Jessa Crispin got everyone talking about the book again, and people are comparing their scores like high schoolers on SAT
day , and lest you think I'm an intellectual party pooper denying you assurance of my well-grounded authority on the subject of literature, I..."

What I was to come to realize was that Darby, the site owner, referenced my blog on "1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die". And okay, it wasn't exactly complimentary, but, hey, like they say in Hollywood "There's no such thing as bad publicity."

Now that I've referenced his web-site, is the blogging universe going to collapse on itself in a horrible circular reference?


Well isn't this creepy/Top-Earning Dead Celebrities

Top-Earning Dead Celebrities
By Lacey Rose, Louis Hau and Amanda Schupak 10.24.06, 12:00 PM ET

Kurt Cobain
Elvis Presley
Charles M. Schulz
John Lennon
Albert Einstein
Andy Warhol
Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel)
Ray Charles
Marilyn Monroe
Johnny Cash
J.R.R. Tolkien
George Harrison
Bob Marley

Two new studies on the benefits of drinking

Yesterday was a good health news day for those of us who like to imbibe now and again...

Red Wine May Cut Risk of Colorectal Cancer
By Ed EdelsonHealthDay Reporter Mon Oct 23, 7:03 PM ET

MONDAY, Oct. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Drinking more than three glasses of red wine a week reduced the incidence of abnormal growths and cancers of the intestinal tract by two-thirds, a new study found.
White wine did not have the same protective effect, said study author Dr. Joseph C. Anderson, an assistant professor of medicine at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
"I generally advise against drinking, but if you're going to drink, drink red wine," Anderson said.
The findings were expected to be presented Monday at the American College of Gastroenterology's annual meeting, in Las Vegas.
Anderson's study included 1,741 people seen in his office -- 245 red wine drinkers, 115 white wine drinkers, and 1,381 wine abstainers. Of the red wine drinkers, 176 had three or more glasses a week, as did 68 of the white wine drinkers.
The incidence of colorectal neoplasia -- cancers and polyps that can become cancerous -- was 9.9 percent in the abstainers, 8.8 percent in the three-glass-or-more white wine drinkers, and 3.4 percent in the three-glass-or more red wine drinkers, a 68 percent reduction for that group, Anderson reported.
His is the latest in a series of studies that have found red wine consumption associated with a reduced risk of various forms of cancer -- leukemia, breast and prostate among them -- in animal studies or real life. Like many of the other researchers, Anderson attributes the beneficial effect to the compound resveratrol, which is found under the skin of grapes.
Resveratrol content is higher in red than white wine because the grape skins are removed early in the fermentation process for white wines, Anderson said. The skins stay on longer when red wine is made, allowing resveratrol to enter the wine.
But that might not be the whole story, said Gopi Paliyath, a plant agriculture professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, who has done studies that found a protective effect from red wine against breast cancer.
Resveratrol is a member of the chemical family called polyphenols, many of which are found in red wine, Paliyath said. "It may be a combined action, not only one particular component doing something," he said.
And a study done by one of his students added a potentially different element to the mix -- chemicals found in the oak barrels in which wine is made. They may leak out of the oak into the wine and act in conjunction with the polyphenols, he said.
Whatever the cause of the protective effect, Anderson said he advises people against taking up the wine habit for health reasons.
"People are better off going out exercising than hoping that a glass of wine will help them," he said. "My bias is more toward other things, like running or biking."
But, Anderson noted, his observation is that "wine drinkers are more likely to do those things."
More information
For more on red wine and cancer prevention, visit the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

Daily Drink or Two Cuts Healthy Men's Heart Attack Risk
10.23.06, 12:00 AM ET

MONDAY, Oct. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Research has shown that a drink or two per day can reduce the odds of heart attack in people at risk.
Now, a new study suggests this benefit also extends to healthier men who eat right and exercise.
The finding may help doctors feel a bit better about recommending moderate drinking to a wider range of patients, experts say.
"Most of the discussion about moderate drinking has tended to say that there are better ways to lower one's heart disease risk than drinking alcohol," said lead author Dr. Kenneth J. Mukamal, an associate in medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston. "But what about men who are already doing those other things?" he said.
His team published their findings in the Oct. 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
In the study, Mukamal's team collected data on alcohol and heart attacks among nearly 9,000 healthy men enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. During the study, the men completed questionnaires about their diet and alcohol use. All these men were nonsmokers, ate a healthful diet, exercised at least 30 minutes a day and were not overweight.
From 1986 to 2002, 106 of the men had heart attacks. Of these men, eight were among the 1,282 who drank about two drinks a day, nine were among the 714 who had over two drinks a day, and 28 were among the 1,889 men who did not drink at all.
The men who had two drinks a day had the lowest risk for heart attack, while those who didn't drink had the highest risk, the researchers found. Twenty-five percent of the heart attacks were among men who drank less than 5 grams of alcohol a day.
Given these findings, Mukamal thinks that guidelines about drinking and heart disease need to be rethought to take into account the benefit of alcohol on healthy men. He also believes the same benefit will be seen among healthy women.
Still, Mukamal is cautious about recommending that nondrinkers start drinking.
"I don't think people should begin drinking based on a finding like ours," he said. "Heart disease is only one of the diseases that people can develop. This study doesn't take into account cancer or any other illness," he said.
Two other experts say they have begun recommending moderate alcohol use to their patients, however.
"Physicians have been leery about suggesting to people that they drink," said Dr. Richard A. Stein, a clinical professor of medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City. "What I ask patients is: 'Do you drink routinely?' If so, then I would continue to drink the equivalent of two drinks for a man and one drink for a smaller woman."
Stein does, however, routinely recommend a drink a day to people who have already had a heart attack. "Generally, I have begun to do that because the studies have been very powerful in suggesting that alcohol reduces risk of heart attack," he added.
"There now have been numerous convincing studies showing that alcohol consumption lowers the risk of having a heart attack," added Dr. Byron K. Lee, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, Division of Cardiology.
However, doctors are reluctant to recommend it to their patients, Lee said. "Nevertheless, patients should be informed of the facts. I tell all my patients that, in terms of preventing heart attacks, a moderate amount of alcohol is probably good," he said.
More information
There's more on drinking and heart attack at the
American Heart Association.

23 October 2006

The update on Andale

From Tom's on-line chat from August 2 (okay, so I'm a little behind the times)

Tom Sietsema: NEWS TO CHEW ON: Andale, the Mexican-inspired restaurant in Penn Quarter, closed earlier this week, after a run of almost six years. The reason? One of its three business partners "decided he didn't want to be in the restaurant business anymore," according to chef Alison Swope, who has "no idea" what the future holds for her. Does she want to keep cooking? "Of course!," she told me yesterday afternoon. "What else am I going to do after 27 years?" Attention, area restaurants: As I type, Swope is trying to find jobs for her cooks, waiters and busboys, some of whom have been with her since before she even opened Andale.

"Just Friends"/Movie Review [no spoilers]

Saw "Just Friends" last night, since HBO was having a free preview weekend.

But first an aside... How sad is it that all weekend, there's only 1 movie that looks like it could be okay and that we bother to watch out of 8 free HBO channels! Okay, so we went to two parties and ran errands and weren't sitting around all day and night over the weekend... but still... maybe we're just not HBO movie people. Also, not sure what it says about me that I like "Curb Your Enthusiasm"--not enough to invest in HBO, not even sure I want the DVDs but if it's there, that I will watch. Okay, back to your regularly scheduled programming...

We saw "Just Friends" and walked in with low to moderate expectations of a light, romantic comedy. There really wasn't all that much romance but plenty of comedy. We wound up laughing a lot at the goofy, high-schooly, sibling-rivalry shtick we all do and the considerable slapstick that was very well executed.

Ryan Reynolds, probably better known for "Van Wilder" and "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place", did a very good job at being sincere and ridiculous at the same time. [Obscure tidbit tangent: according to IMDb, Ryan and Alanis Morissette, fellow Canadian, were engaged for two years--until this past June.] Amy Smart does alright as the love interest. Anna Faris, as a Courtney Love-type with even less talent, often steals the show. And the scenes between Reynolds and his brother, played by Chris Marquette, just get better and better as the movie goes on.

Bottom line: I was much more entertained than I thought I would be. I give it 3 out of 4 Jujubees, especially if you can view it for free or a few bucks on pay-per-view.

20 October 2006

Post Script on Wesley (he's right where he was supposed to be)

By way of Google News I found this:

Wesley Snipes found in Namibia
Actor is shooting a horror film in Africa
By Zap2It.com

Wesley Snipes
The warrant for Wesley Snipes' arrest has led authorities to the land of Shiloh Jolie-Pitt's birth.
The "Blade" actor, who's been indicted for tax fraud, is currently shooting a film in Namibia, which has no extradition treaty with Washington, reports Reuters.
"It is confirmed. He is definitely here," says Edwin Kanguatjivi, chief executive officer of the Namibia Film Commission. "He has been in Namibia since the end of August."
Snipes is filming "Gallowwalker," a horror-western in which he plays a gunman whose victims return from the dead. The project is shooting in the Namibian desert close to where Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were hiding out for the birth of their child in May.
The actor is wanted on an indictment that alleges he filed false refund claims of about $12 million and failed to file tax returns for six years. He faces a maximum of 16 years in prison if he's convicted on all counts.
It's not certain what the United States will do in this situation regarding the lack of formal extradition treaty with Namibia. In an unrelated case, U.S. officials are going to request Namibia for the extradition of another man, fugitive U.S. software millionaire Jacob "Kobi" Alexander, to face charges of manipulating stock options.

If you agree that you shouldn't check this box, check this box []

I enter sweepstakes. It's a hobby. Go on--check my profile, it's there. I run hot and cold on it. I'll sweep heavily for a month or so and then leave it alone for six months or so. I enter a huge variety of sweepstakes when I'm active.

Two MAJOR plugs:

1) online-sweepstakes.com is pure genius. It's almost every sweepstakes imaginable (certainly enough for me), with usable links, extremely well organized, and the basic level is free!

2) Roboform is also pure genius. You fill in your basic information once and then you let Roboform auto-populate the forms you want to submit. A pleasure!

This makes sweeping much easier and more enjoyable than the olden days. Remember that blog on the joys of long-hand versus electronic? It doesn't apply to sweeping.

And I've won. Everything from token things like a "mini-Sharpie", t-shirt, baseball cap, etc. to bigger things like a color printer, a basket full of groceries, $25 gift cards, $100 cash, etc. The universe has been very good to me and I'm grateful.

What I don't like: When you dutifully enter your information and they try to trip you up with the check boxes. It looks something like this:


Check here,
If you would like to receive a free 2 month trial subscription [*] Yes [ ] No
If you would like to receive valuable offers from our associates [ ] Yes [*] No
If you don't want to forever be on our mailing list of trivial, useless info [*] Yes [ ] No

So if you're not careful in checking and deciphering the wording and/or toggling/untoggling radio buttons, you wind up with something you never wanted. I don't mind them asking... I get the whole idea that the sweepstakes entry is a lure to get you to look at their advertising. What bothers me is the intentionally goofy way some check box lists are set up to trip you up. Or the way they "bury" a pre-checked box way down so that you have to scroll all the way down to see it, even though the submit button is only half-way down the page. This leads me to another plus for online-sweepstakes.com: users catch these things and warn others about them in the "Notes" section! Strong community there. Really a model of abundance thinking!

19 October 2006

Second Life

I first heard about Second Life on Marketplace (National Public Radio). Now you know, if reading a bunch of books is too onerous a task for me, the last thing I want is a second life to maintain. I haven't been out there to the site but it has the whiff of D&D. If you build it, geeks will come. I'm probably offending people here, sorry. Reread the paragraph--I freely admit I know not of what I speak. Here's someone that at least took a look:


1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

Oh great. More nagging. That's what I need. A list of 1001 books that I "must" read before I die. That's right. Somebody has put a list together and it's blazing through the blogging world like wildfire. So, okay, I'll fan the flame but in a different way.

I admit it. I heard of this and I looked at the list. I compared myself to it. I didn't actually print it out and tick off the ones I've read or tried to read (yeah, there's definitely some of those on the list) but I looked. What's the point?! Should I feel inadequate? Should I rush to the library and start working my way through this to meet some bogus standard? Should I feel smug that I haven't been "gammoned" entirely? What does it mean? Nothing.

Why do they do it? Why do we care?? But we do.

That's why I'm not providing a link to the list. I know you. You couldn't stop yourself. You'd look.

Yes, you would.

Oh, fine. Here:


18 October 2006

Wesley... say it ain't so!

Wesley Snipes... tax fraud?? a warrant for his arrest?! indicted??! possible 30 years in prison?!?!!

It just makes no sense.


Makes me wonder if there'll be Wesley sightings in far off places... far from the long arm of the law.

Tap... tap... tap...

It doesn't surprise me that electronic books haven't taken off, no matter how many times they're pitched. They are cool in concept but lacking in implementation. Reading a book is an intimate, tactile experience with specific visual cues (white space proportions, etc). Try to translate that to a monitor and you lose those things that make reading a book special.

Same goes for writing. Blogging and other electronic forms have clear benefits regarding sharing and distribution and back-ups and mass storage and such. And I am a much more efficient writer because I can type quicker than write long-hand, edit without blotches, cut and paste my or others' photos and quotes, and notice inaccuracies when I bother to turn the spell check on.

Still, there's a different quality to holding a pen and scritching out one's message in one's own handwriting on that white (or non-white) page. In fact, watch some time as your handwriting changes depending on what you are conveying and the emotion connected to it. Joyous looks different from angry looks different from sad looks different from bored looks different from curious. As holistic beings, we can't divorce the writer from the message... unless we go electronic. Maybe this is why so many people feel they can say things in e-mail that they wouldn't say to a person's face.

Today, I purchased a new journal for work and I'm kinda psyched to use it. What can I say? Scritch... scritch... scritch.

17 October 2006

One experience can make or break

I just got an add from TravelZoo (a GREAT organization) advertising a travel special. This one happens to be for a Lufthansa flight sale. I had an immediate, visceral reaction: No way am I ever flying Lufthansa again! I was on a Lufthansa flight for business many years ago (probably about 15 years by now) and as we taxied down the runway and took off, water began to run from along the ceiling molding onto me. I was shocked and uselessly tried to catch the water in my hands and deflect it! It was at that moment that my focus shifted to the stewardess who was strapped in facing me. She was laughing! How very helpful.

One experience. Many years ago. That's enough to ruin the whole organization's reputation for me. I wonder if clods like this woman have any idea how they affect the bottom line. Well, if she treated others the way she treated me, she's probably (hopefully) long gone. Still, fair or not, the damage is done.

Storing up our nuts for the winter

Something about this season... time seems to warp and shift.

There seems to be a lot of activity as the days get shorter. A need to pack it all in before we pack it all in. The flurry of holidays. The piling on of layers of clothes and layers of fat. The forced cheerful bluster in the midsts of the impending wintry bluster.

I look at my neighbors decorating their houses with all sorts of fall/Halloween paraphernalia. Sure, it's cheerful. Still, I have no desire to join in. Eat the chocolate, yes, but put out skeletons and such? Nah. If anything, it makes me want to divest myself of some of the stuff I already have.

I can't deny my feelings but I can't help the nagging sense that I'm not being a good, consumptive American.

16 October 2006

The National Folk Festival and two wineries as we wind our way home

Saturday was a lovely day to check out the National Folk Festival in Richmond. Blue sky, light breeze, beeyootiful. An impressive event, considering there was no cover charge. Lots of decent music on five or six stages and plenty of carny food. Couldn't bring myself to try the deep fried Twinkies. Hey, I'm a purist. I like mine straight up. The vegetarian options were not fabulous but they were okay and I was glad to see and support them. James River had a booth for wine there. They were okay but not as tasty as I remembered. Maybe it was the plastic cup that messed up the flavor.

On the way back we stopped at Hartwood Winery (www.hartwoodwinery.com) and Rogers Ford Farm Winery (www.rogersfordwine.com). Why is it that the second winery always has tastier wine? ;) Both wineries were welcoming, knowledgable, had pleasant atmospheres. We wound up buying more at Rogers Ford, though. Maybe it was the fact that we were in a place called Summerduck. Maybe it was the presence of all those winery dogs. Happy dogs make happy wineries. Or something like that. Speaking of which, there's actually a book about winery dogs out now! Blew me away but it makes a lot of sense. If you get to Rogers Ford, definitely try their variety of whites but also check out that funky Rose thingy they've got. It's not what you would expect.

The King of Queens...???

Where is "The King of Queens"? I search the internet and there's no definitive answer. It appears that the stars are asking for more money and the execs are making them sweat.

Is it so much to ask to have a little levity after a hard day's work? A little comedy? A chuckle here or there? A break from the all-pervasive (pseudo-) reality shows? I say give 'em the money. Well worth it, by gum. If Charlie Sheen, who is the least funny of the cast of Two and a Half Men, can command more money, surely Kevin James, who is easily 10 times funnier, can do the same.

13 October 2006

John Muir

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike. "

The creative process/Dewitt Jones

Heard Dewitt Jones speak today and, of course, revelled in his amazing imagery. He said that at National Geographic he'd shoot 400 rolls of film per assignment. 400 rolls of film. Talk about "more than one right answer." Talk about "permission to make mistakes and try again." Powerful.

10 October 2006

Barats and Bereta on You Tube

Funny stuff. JoeBob says "Check it out."


The Royal Drummers of Burundi

The drummers of Burundi are pretty dang amazing. Great precision and focus. Complex rhythms. And such endurance! To be in constant motion for so long--drumming and stamping--and still be able to leap high in the air! Most impressive and a most enjoyable evening. Kudos to George Mason University for providing a venue for this spectacular group.

06 October 2006

Foley's Folly/Gilliam/Andale/Chophouse

I'd smirk at the hubris of Foley and his party comrades if it all weren't so pathetic and sad.

So I'll write about something else...

Didn't get in to see Terry Gilliam, as planned, at the Hirshorn. The line wrapped double the lobby by the time we got there (which was way before tickets went on sale.) Perhaps its just as well as the Hirshorn description said this was Gilliam's "most intense work to date."

So we strolled up to Andale to get some of their yummy food and drink instead only to find they were closed up! Ack. I've sent e-mail to Tom Sietsema hoping he can shed some light on this horrible turn of events.

So we kept strolling up 7th and wound up at the remarkably crowded and rather mediocre for the money District Chophouse & Brewery. I will say that their Octoberfest beer was quite tasty and the service was good. And the space is interesting. But--call me crazy--I look for more than that in a restaurant.

Here's something I don't get. What's the point of having music piping in when all you can vaguely hear is the bass line of something nondescript to begin with? Meanwhile, in the basement where the rest rooms and the banquet room are, you could quite well enjoy the standards piped in. I don't get it.

02 October 2006

So That's Cool/National Book Festival/Brad Meltzer

So cool! Got to the National Book Festival on Saturday on the mall. Even though it was drizzly and sometimes more than drizzly, I was still pleased to be there. Got to hear Brad Meltzer speak (very entertaining even in his answers to audience questions), shake his hand, and got his autograph on a copy of his latest, "The Book of Fate."

Curious thing number 1: I think he said he writes and edits a whole book about 7 times, page by page. Seven detailed passes on a 500 page manuscript. Yowza. That's dedication. He's earned the right to be a best-selling author! Well, that and he's a great writer. :)

Curious thing number 2: I wonder how many times he gets asked an original question from the audience. I'm thinking not too often.

Curious thing number 3: Despite meeting hundreds, maybe thousands of people, he took time with each one, was happy to personalize the autograph, take pictures, shake hands, chat, etc. Yeah, I know these are his customers. Still, a lot of people would get it over with as quickly as possible. Meltzer was very gracious and thanked everybody warmly.

Curious thing number 4: Is there anything better than a cone of those glazed almonds? Sooooooooooooo good. If I had any sense this would be the business I'd go into. The cinnamon smell alone sells the product.