When it rains—when it really really rains—I think of my father and the ways he would try to entertain his bored little girl looking gloomily out the window, a girl who was hoping the sun for a moment, for just one moment, would come out and say hi. I never liked TV much back then; I just couldn't sit still for that long. Too restless, I guess. I read a lot, but reading was only fun when it was on my terms and not born out of the attrition of boredom and bad weather.
My father told stories, and I lived for them. He had so many stories, so so many stories. Stories about everything and stores about nothing. Funny ones. Sad ones. Weird ones. But my favorites, my absolute favorites, were the ones where he'd explain the way things worked. The how's and the why's. He had an answer to almost everything, and it was my game—my challenge—to try and ask him something he did not know. And when he did not have the answer, he'd say these words and these words got me so excited: "Let's look it up." And we did. So many times I stood before those bookshelves, hands on my hips, face scrunched up trying to figure out which volume to search. I remember the smell of those books, that musky smell of leather and parchment. I remember the pages, crisp and toilet-tank white, the way they crinkled beneath my fingers when I flipped them. But most of all I remember the lessons I learned on those days, the lessons that went beyond the answers to my questions. First: You'll never know everything, and that's why life is fun. If my Dad taught me anything, it was that lack of curiosity leads to lack of knowledge. Second: If you don't know, look it up. Because knowing is better than not knowing. Third: (and this is a direct quote from my father) "If it doesn't have the answer, we need to get a new encyclopedia."
As a kid, it was so easy looking stuff up in the encyclopedia. You had one source and it was definitive. It's more complicated these days with Google and Wikipedia. There is so much information and disinformation. So many lenses to peer through. So much content to filter and distill. There are no simple answers to complex questions. And that, my friends, is the tragedy of adulthood.
I like the idea of the Wiki. I like it because it exists in a normative world, a romantic world. We are all its editors and contributors and we hold each other accountable. It is the world of an optimist.
I don't think the Wiki works all the time. But I think it, like any kind of information, can be a useful tool. It just depends on the way you're using it: how, why, and for what.
Dad, I know, would've loved it.
Things I like:
- food & wine.
- indie music.
- low light pollution.
- high thread counts.
- coffee in the morning.
- spooning at night.
- poker. (texas hold'em—good; omaha hi-lo—better.)
- dimly lit bars.
- boutique hotels.
- The Fillmore.
- road trips.
- bike races.
- Basil Hayden's when I can find it. Knob Creek otherwise.
- baseball games on a sunny day.
- the city.
- the country.
- rainy days but not Mondays.
- the clicking of high-heels.
Things I do not like:
- picky eaters.
- bad manners.
- when the separation between church and state is not respected.
- TempurPedic beds.
- Organic for organic's sake.
- professional basketball.
- losing my keys.
- the Shoreline Amp.
- bad rock bands.
- Panic At The Disco (see above).
- peer pressure.
- homogenization. (see above).
2007-02-23 01:51:14 Hi. Wow, you could be my ghost writer. I pretty much agree with everything you've written here. —JeffSpeckles
2007-03-12 19:25:44 You like Basil Hayden's? Sophia's has it. —JeffSpeckles
2007-04-17 20:21:06 I had to agree with your review of Soga's- mine's the new one at the bottom of the list ( crappy Caesar Salad / dinner ). I liked your review. As they say for the NBA finals - " Let the truth be told ! " ( even thought you don't like pro basketball - c'mon - just watch the good shots on SportsCenter ). Thanks for tunring me on to Basil Hayden's - never heard of it. Try Coppola Claret for a great red wine ( wait for a sale; I usually pay $ 12 )Mark Mittelstaedt —MarkMittelstaedt
2007-06-04 11:20:14 When I was little I used to REALLY like the clicking sound of high heels, so much, in fact, that I worried I was gay. —JoshFernandez
2007-09-10 10:23:50 You are a GIFTED writer. Aaaand I must say that your post about Little Prague had me CRYING. LMAO!! —joeistheish