The last 7 Augusts of my life

I remember a time when people thought I was odd for having a blog (I'm odd for many reason, but blogging isn't one of them). When I started blogging 10 years ago no one knew what a blog was.

Now everyone knows what a blog is, but nobody seems to care about personal blogs. Blog have moved on, become corporate (I should know, I run a corporate blog!), become magazines... have become part of the wallpaper of our lives.

One of the greatest benefits of keeping a personal blog, though, is being able to delve into the archives and recall what you were doing at moments in the past... in your own words.

I thought it would be fun to see what I was doing, and thinking about, in each of the Augusts for which I have a blog archive. For some reason I have archives from August 2000 and then it skips to August 2003 so we'll consider 2001 and 2002 my 'Lost Augusts,' which would make a great title of a book.

August 2000: I saw some nuns, went to the dentist (twice!), and attended an Alumni Relations conference (I still remember the deafening sound of small talk).

August 2003: I'd been living in Philadelphia for about five months, and I was discovering the blogging community here. I was also obsessed with Macromedia (now Adobe) products for some reason.

August 2004: I watched some bad movies, thought about going to Ireland (spoiler alert: I haven't been to Ireland yet, I was excited to get a Pocket PC (hey, this was YEARS before the iPhone, people), and had my boss point out that I had a lot of gray hair (and she thought I was several years older than I actually was at the time).

August 2005: A neologism ('blankbabied') was coined and briefly in Wikipedia before their editors rejected it, was told "You would never be Jesus" which still holds true, looked back at the start of my blogging life (odd that here it is August, and once again I'm looking back at my blogging life), and stated once more my desire to go to Ireland.

August 2006: I went to see a Jonathan Coulton concert (before he got modestly famous), bought some books about libraries, shaved off my beard, and found out I was fat (I was as shocked as you are to here the news).

August 2007: I found that Sour Cream and Onion Quakes are quite tasty, purchased my first iPhone (and posted way too many pictures from it), created a promo video for a Viddler content with Marisa, and called Thad a jackass.

August 2008: I left TUAW, saw Neal Diamond in concert (for the second time), joined up with the merry crew at Macworld/MacUser (and I'll be blogging more over there soon!), and bought a new fridge.

August 2009: I created a blog for the purpose of posting pictures I wanted to Tweet (that blog has been abandoned), read a book, and and received a very cute key chain from Marisa.

Cool posters from Vintagraph

1939WorldsFair.jpgI was born in the wrong era. Well, maybe not since if I had been born in the 30's I wouldn't be able to enjoy all the gadgets (and blogs) that I spend so much of my time obsessing over.

Thankfully, Vintagraph is there to provide me with artwork so I can enjoy both my iPad and WPA produced posters. Isn't the world a wonderful place?

I have my eye on a few of their posters:

Hooked on Classics

Hooked on ClassicsI like classical music (I have enough of it in my iTunes library to listen to only classical music for 8 days non-stop) but I really know very little about it. It is relaxing and enjoyable, but I can't tell Mozart from Rachmaninov (actually, I probably could... but I'm trying to make a point here!).

I also happen to like Amazon, so when Amazon sent me an email listing a bunch of classical music albums on sale for $5 (these are MP3s, not CDs) I knew I was going to blow some cash, but I didn't think I would be transported back to my childhood.

When I was a little boy my family had an old record player in the livingroom, stored up on top of a built in china cabinet. Every once and awhile I would get it down and listen to some records that my parents had. I don't recall what any of those records were with one exception: Hooked On Classics.

What's Hooked On Classics? I suggest you check out the Amazon page and listen to the previews... think classical music meets disco and you'll have a good idea of what it sounds like.

Needless to say I'm $5 poorer but richer in the childhood memories that come flowing back whenever I hear a track from the album. Seems like a fair trade to me.

My Strand haul


The other day I went to the Strand, and if you know anything about me you know I can't leave the Strand without buying some books. The next question that should come to mind is, what books did you get, Scott?

Here's the list:

And now you know!

New York City - Day Three

Sunday was our last day in New York City, and since we had to check out of our hotel at noon and our bus didn't leave until 4:40 we had some time to kill.

Thanks to a suggest by Dave Caolo we checked out the Tenement Museum. No photography of any kind was allowed within the museum itself, so here is where you buy tickets:


Luckily for us, the Tenement Museum was right by another recommended NYC stop (thanks, Philafoodie), Doughnut Plant:

Doughnut Plant

As you might guess this place is a fancy-pants doughnut shop (the doughnuts are fancy, the shop itself has an industrial vibe going on.. and it is tiny! Though the line moves very quickly):

Doughnut Plant

Doughnut Plant sells two different categories of doughtnuts: yeast and cake. I was planning on ordering one of each type, but then I saw the creme brulee doughnut (which is a yeast doughtnut). This thing was tiny, but very very tasty:

creme brulee

I also got another yeast doughnut, the vanilla bean. This one was a vanilla-y glazed doughtnut that was really good (read Marisa's thoughts about her peach doughtnut to see the amazing power of Doughtnut Plant):

Vanilla Bean

We then stumbled upon a little outdoors market which included, for some reason, a ping pong table. Some kids were playing each other and this boy was levitating the ball WITH HIS MIND:


That was all the fun we had time for in New York City. This is Marisa enjoying some of our last moments in the city by standing in the middle of the street like a real New Yorkers. I'm walking here!


New York City - Day Two in pictures

We woke up hungry, but we wanted to get going. We down to Union Square to check out the green market there. Before we did any serious checking, though we had breakfast at the Coffee Shop (I had pancakes, if you're wondering):


Mmmm, carrots:


It wasn't that hot out, but clearly this dog wasn't enjoying being out and about... so he sought some shade under a table:


Marisa samples some of the local flora:


Hippy teas:


I took this picture for Jason Snell (he knows why):


The Strand, one of my favorite stops in NYC:


Five days a week for four years I took the subway to this stop:


To go here:


Marisa thought my high school was 'fancy.' Well, it is on the Upper Eastside and all:


Speaking of fancy, we stopped by this little jewelry store (this is one of Tiffany's flagship stores... 6 floors of expensive, shiny things):


Some lucky girl got a present:


Then we walked back to the hotel before meeting up with my brother for some dinner. On the way we stopped in at the LEGO store in Rockefeller Center which features some LEGO renditions of some famous Art Deco pieces:




And then we played checkers on a Microsoft Surface (Marisa beat me):


Walking down 6th Avenue I snapped this picture... a great end tothe day:


New York City - Day One in pictures

This is what I saw the entire way to New York on the Megabus (when I wasn't sleeping):


Then we checked into our hotel room (the lovely person at the front desk bumped us from a room on the 14th floor to one on the 23rd floor) I looked out the window to see this:


I took this picture at 2pm (that becomes important):


We stood in line at the Shack Shake starting at 2pm:


These guys were competing against one another to see who could solve the Rubik's Cube the fastest (any of them would beat me):


2:30 and still on the Shake Shack line:


Finally, we can order (this was taken at about 3pm):


Mmm, the food. It was good, but I don't think it was worth waiting over an hour for:


After our burger and shake we decided to walk some of that fat off on the Highline:


We saw some cool looking buildings:


We enjoyed the fauna high above the streets of NYC:


Marisa enjoyed the wooden recliners:


At the candy store we found assorted bunnies:


And the we went to the top of the Empire State building (see my Empire State Building tip):


And you can't beat the view:


Even the view looking up is pretty nice:


And to round off the evening, some nice smooth jazz 86 floors above the street:


The only Empire State Building tip you'll ever need

Buy the Express Pass tickets. When you get to the building itself (or the website) you'll wonder, just as I did, whether the extra cost (over double the price) is worth it.

Speaking as someone who opted not to get the Express Pass take my word for it: the extra expense is worth it. The Express Pass allows you to skip all the lines. When you first enter the building you'll go through security and that will make you think all the lines will be quick going.  I will say that the staff at the ESB gets a lot of people moving quickly, but you're still going to be waiting for at least an hour without the Express Pass. Buy it (and don't get the map. You don't need it).

You can have my G4 Cube when you pry it from my cold, dead hands. Actually, $200 would do it.

A work of art

July 19th, 2000. I remember one thing I did that day: ordered a new computer. How can I recall such a mundane detail? Because that's the day Apple introduced the G4 Cube.

When I saw it, I had to order it. I knew, intellectually, that it was over-priced, under-powered (despite being capable of giga-flops) and not in the least user expandable... but goodness. I had never seen a computer like it (and still really haven't).

prettymonitor.jpgThe G4 Cube is a work of art (sadly, many Cube owners were shocked to find that the manufacturing process left tiny cracks in the clear plastic of their Cubes... which they weren't fond off) and a computer.

I used my Cube as my main computer (attached to a 17 inch Apple Studio Display, which itself was a stunning piece of industrial design) for a good long while. When the time came to replace it I couldn't bring myself to give it away... so I packed it up in a box and moved it from Yonkers to my first apartment in Philadelphia to my second apartment and finally along with me when I moved in with Marisa.

It took awhile, but finally we purchased a piece of furniture worthy of displaying this work of art in the manner in which it deserves (pictured above).

This trip down memory lane brought to you by Benj Edwards' dueling G4 Cube pieces for Macworld (read 'em here and here).

McSweeney's Internet Tendency: An Objective Look at My Seven Graduate School Rejections Compared to Other Historic Rejections.

Here's a fun Scott fact: I very nearly enrolled in an MA program after graduating from college (the Creative Writing MFA program at Emerson to be exact).

Why Emerson? I applied to a number of programs, but I was rejected by all of them... save Emerson. That made the choice easier, though in the end I decided to skip the MFA all together (I do often wonder what my life would be like if I had gone ahead and enrolled in that program... I would probably be living in Boston, and I definitely wouldn't be writing this blog post!

It is for this reason that I draw your attention to McSweeney's Internet Tendency: An Objective Look at My Seven Graduate School Rejections Compared to Other Historic Rejections. Been there, done that.

Dear Hotels,

Dear Hotels,

I know this might come as a shock to you, but tall people need to shower too.

After taking a shower this morning, and getting dressed (you're welcome) I hopped back in the shower to take picture.

Hotels, can you see the problem here? No one wants to hunch over to get their head wet in the shower and I have to believe I'm not the only tall dude (or dudette) that encounters this problem at nearly every hotel I stay at.

Hugs and kisses,

Barnes and Noble: Book + eBook


When Amazon first started their big push into eBooks lots of people said, "That'll never take off unless Amazon bundles the electronic version with the physical book." Amazon never did that (to my knowledge) but they seem to be doing OK in the eBook biz.

Barnes and Noble, on the other hand, has been struggling a little in the eBook space. They have just launched Nook Study, which looks interesting, and then there is the picture above.

I happened to be in my local Barnes and Noble (the one across from Rittenhouse Square for those of you who know Philadelphia) when I came across this sign. Barnes and Noble is bundling free eBooks with certain physical copies!

It is a limited time offer, and all the books I would have been interested in I had already read, but it is a good use of BN's big advantage: their brick and mortar stores.

On the other hand, that visit did prompt me to buy three books: all on my Kindle.

Building a TypePad Blog People Want to Read: A giveaway!

image from blankbaby.typepad.comI've mentioned by new TypePad book on the blog before, but why not mention it again?

As you probably know, when you've authored a book your publisher gives you a bunch of copies of said book to do with as you will. I'm going to keep one for myself (since I still think it is cool to see my name printed on the cover of an actual book, despite my well documented love of all things Kindle). That still leaves me with a number of copies of Building a TypePad Blog People Want to Read. I owe a few copies to various folks in my life, but without this blog I would never have written the book so it only seems fair to give some copies away on the blog.

Taking a page from my lovely wife (check out her blog called Food in Jars) I've decided to give five (5) copies of my book away to five people that comment on this post. However, I'm going to randomly pick five commenters from this post.

You have until midnight of Wednesday, August 4th to leave a comment and enter to win a copy of my book. Just leave a comment and tell me why you should get one!

I'll mail you the book, and all I ask in return is that you review the book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble after you've read it (your review should be honest, of course!).