Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pobrecito Barnes & Noble

In Spanish, "pobrecito" is the third most popular word, trailing only "el" and "la." Peruvians in particular like to refer anyone who's struggling or put upon as a pobrecito, which roughly translates to "poor little thing." Their hearts would weep for the Barnes & Noble franchise, which is having to close a few stores due to the lousy economy and online booksellers like Amazon.

People browsing at the Lincoln Center store on Monday lamented the loss of one of the city’s largest and most prominent bookstores, a sprawling space with a cafe on the fourth floor and an enormous music selection. For devoted theatergoers, it was a reliable site for readings and events that focused on the performing arts.

But many of those same people conceded that they have not bought as many books there as they did in the past. Some said they were more likely to browse the shelves, then head home and make purchases online. Others said they prized the store most for its sunny cafe or its magazines and other nonbook items.

I do not weep for Barnes & Noble. I still remember when Barnes & Noble and (pobrecito) Media Play opened their stores in Utah County, causing my favorite local bookstores to struggle. I particularly disliked the bait 'n switch technique of opening the stores with tons of books and movies, and then slowly whittling down the selections. Same thing with the cozy reading areas -- they get rid of those over time.

That said, when my mother asks me what I want for Christmas, I say, "Gift Certificate to Barnes & Noble." So there.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Summer Highlights


No Leadville for me this year, so I haven't trained. If it weren't for wiffleball, I'd be sad. In a couple of weeks, I'll be heading up to Mt. Rainier for a 3-day biking weekend with Nick and a couple other guys. I'm going to start doing bursts on my way home from work to get into tip-top shape. I may even start doing knee bends.


Yes, I play on a wiffleball team at work. Wiffleball seems like a joke sport at first glance, and maybe even at the second and third glances as well. Here's the thing -- I haven't had this much fun playing a sport since the days when I could play snow football or flag football. There are 12 teams in the league, six players to a side. No one has to run hard. Hits and outs depend on where the ball is hit, so baserunners are essentially placeholders. It all comes down to pitching and hitting and a little bit of fielding. If the pitcher hits the target behind the plate, it's a strike, no matter where the ball crosses the plate. Spectators line up on the balcony above the field to watch the game while eating lunch. Players greet each other in the hallway and talk smack in meetings. It's got the perfect balance of being fun and competitive.

I'm one of the pitchers for the team that finished with the number 1 seed for the playoffs. I have a wicked curveball that, when I throw it right, goes right by the head of the batter and smacks the upper right corner of the strike target. I also mix in a fastball and change-up. We're in the semifinals now, but we lost our first game in a best 2 out of 3 series. I pitch again Wednesday night in a must-win wiffleball game. If we lose, I will not be able to sleep the following night.

You think I'm kidding.


Just found out I'm keeping my job at Adobe. I'm working on a fun project -- using InDesign to create digital magazines for the iPad. Right in my wheelhouse. I've never enjoyed being at Adobe more.

More later. Really. I'm going to write about the letter of rejection I got from a Hollywood exec for one of my screenplays. The guy didn't think it was realistic for a man on a deserted island to perform kidney replacement surgery on both himself and his son without anesthesia and using only a swiss-army knife. Did I tell you he's from Hollywood? And that he can talk about realism with a straight face? I'll comment later on his letter. You won't believe it.