Archive for the ‘diversion’ Category
Much of what WikiLeaks has uncovered is enormously unsettling, but I just laughed out loud when I read this quote from a NYT profile of WikiLeaks head Julian Assange:
“When it comes to the point where you occasionally look forward to being in prison on the basis that you might be able to spend a day reading a book, the realization dawns that perhaps the situation has become a little more stressful than you would like.”
It’s a bit of welcome gallows humor in the midst of a story of two stupid wars that should be making us all angrier by the day.
What is Coffee for No Reason?
It’s an occasional gathering of people who work in tech, biotech, media, and the wider start-up world. The objective? To drink coffee together for absolutely no reason. Essentially, it’s a chance to take a break from work, meet some interesting people, and hear what they’re up to. (The other devious purpose is that my co-host, Jimmy Guterman, and I use the event as an excuse to give away free copies of all of the business/tech books we’ve accumulated in recent months.)
So here’s how it works: we’ll be in the front room of the Kendall Square Cosi on Wednesday, December 23rd from 9 to 11 AM. You stop by to say hello and drink some coffee (and perhaps grab a book. If you have goodies of your own to give away, that’s great, too.)
Depending on whom you meet and what you discuss, your productivity for the day will either be raised or lowered….we make no guarantees.
The Twitter hash tag for the event is #cfnr. If you’re coming, tweet about it to let others know…
Hope to see you there!
Just a quick public thanks to Scott Kirsner for coming up with the idea for the Coffee for No Reason that we hosted. The attendance was much larger than we expected (thanks to Cosi for being kind about that) and I got the chance to meet a bunch of cool people doing cool things. Some I knew already; plenty I was lucky enough to meet for the first time. I shouldn’t have to be reminded than Silicon Valley isn’t the only place where tech innovation is happening.
However, if you do live near San Francisco and you didn’t fly cross-country for a cup of coffee, you can see Scott at a “Fans, Friends & Followers” workshop at BAVC on December 1. It’ll cost more than a cup of coffee but I’m sure it will be a bargain.
Jane is the primary coffee person in my life, but I’m going to host, along with the great Scott Kirsner, a coffee-for-no-reason gathering in Kendall Square on Friday, October 16. Scott has the details here, but I’ll paste in the highlights of his post below, in case you’re too overextended today to click on a link:
What if a bunch of us descended on the Cosi in Kendall Square to have coffee together for absolutely no reason?
That would sort of be fun, especially if it was a Friday morning.
Here’s how it will work:
Jimmy Guterman and I are hosting. We’ll be there from 9 to 11 AM on Friday, October 16th. We’ll try to grab a table in the dead center of the restaurant’s front room. You’ll find our pictures below so you can recognize us. Come up and say hi, or introduce yourself to someone who looks like they are part of this craziness.
I’m bringing a stack of brand new hardcover business and tech books that have been sent to me as “review copies.” Grab one that looks interesting. Jimmy is bringing a few free copies of an album he produced: The Sandinista Project.
(And if you have something you’d like to give away for free, bring it! There’s also an open WiFi network that usually works, in case you want to bring a laptop and do some demos.)
But mostly this is just a chance to meet some interesting people (most of whom work or hang out in Kendall Square) and introduce them to one another… and goof off on a Friday morning. No content, no sponsors, no agenda, no nothing. Just a social-media-driven coffee klatsch.
PR Folks: You’re welcome to come, but please don’t view this as an opportunity to pitch two of the dimmer members of Boston’s journalistic firmament. ]
The Twitter hash tag, of course, is #CFNR (Coffee for No Reason).
Hope to see you there! No pitching!
Philip Roth wrote a corrosive novel about a corrosive character and called it The Dying Animal. Now I see that it’s been made into a movie called Elegy. How much you wanna bet that the movie and the character will be a lot less impolite than the book? Amazing what a name alone can tell you about a work of art.
You might be a normal person who hears a child chant, as I just did, “Made you look/Made you look/Now you’re in the baby book,” and forget it immediately. I envy you, friend. I, unfortunately, am not a normal person and I am therefore troubled by a number of things in that nyah-nyah:
- Why does making someone look put him or her into the baby book?
- Why is being in the baby book bad and, as a result, tauntable? I like babies. Wouldn’t being in the baby book be a good thing?
- If being in the baby book is indeed a bad thing, what sort of person would trick another person, probably a friend or family member, into looking just to get him or her into a baby book?
The questions could go on forever (and it felt like they did in the original version of this post), and by now the person once sitting next to me would be running away as surely as if I had been pitching scientology, Atlas Shrugged, or CDs of the New Kids on the Block reunion.
For a few weeks, colleagues and friends have been pointing me to Wordle, a web app that takes text and presents it as a “word cloud.” I tried it with a few pieces of my own writing with the expected pedestrian results, but then I copied one of my favorite-ever pieces of someone else’s writing, the “Combray” intro to Proust’s Swann’s Way, and saw this work of art:
(You can click on the image for a larger version.)
Why is this so great? Because, despite being a mere text cloud, it tells the story of the first section with elegant precision. The young narrator is in tremendous psychic pain awaiting the arrival of his mother to kiss him goodnight. So “mother” and “mama” are in large type in the center of the image; even larger is the “room” to which he is confined, as is, just below it, “time,” the narrator’s great obsession. And then, in small type, hiding, is that elusive “kiss.” It’s an intriguing alternate way to consider or enter a story. I’ll play with it some more.
What better way to start a new week than by winning a free copy of The Sandinista Project? The first person with a correct answer will win a copy of that semilegendary two-CD set. Good luck!
In what Steven Seagal vehicle is the lead character, played by “the world’s only aikido instructor turned movie star/director/writer/blues guitarist/energy drink inventor,” as he is identified in Seagalogy: A Study of the Ass-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal, writing his autobiography on an Apple Newton?
First correct answer in the comments wins. Please don’t cheat. This isn’t Scrabulous.
Three people sent this to me today. Thank you, Internet! (Warning: language NSFW)