Monthly Archives: March 2008

Neurotically punctual

I can’t be late. For anything, ever. I am always early. Embarrasingly so, occasionally, and my annoyance with my husband when he makes me late is always way out of proportion.

I’ve known this about myself for many years, but it has just recently come home to me because I’m in graduate school, and this program is all about writing research papers.

Because of the way the coursework is set up, sometimes we don’t finish the class until the weekend before the end of the term. So obviously, we have an extra month in which to write our papers. Our grade shows up as a Work In Progress. But then we start a new term and a new class, and there will be a paper due at the end of that one, too.

I know myself, and I know that if I get behind, I will go crazy. Besides, I want to put the old class behind me so I can concentrate on learning the new material.

Other people in my class don’t sweat it. They take the full amount of time allotted, and make certain that their papers are just exactly right before turning them in, even if there are several papers in their personal queue.

I can see by talking with them that I’d rather get it done and turned in on time than producing the best work it can be.  This is not a good thing.

I wonder if there was an incident in my childhood that produced this peculiar neurosis. Perhaps it was too many years in the deadline-driven advertising business.

Oh well. I guess I’m not bugged enough by it to get myself analyzed. I can, however, work on being a little calmer around deadlines.  Frantic is worse for my health than being late, and I need to remember that.

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Kindle update and clarification

People seem to be very interested in the Kindle and what it will mean to the publishing industry.

I don’t know. I only know that I can read the New York Times in bed at night without folding over giant pages, getting ink all over my hands and figuring out what to do with the piles of newspaper as they accumulate. The Kindle is like what… five ounces and the size of a paperback book. A subscription to the daily NY Times is $13.99/month. To Time Magazine: $1.49 per month. A free 15-day trial subscription to each magazine or newspaper is included. The NY Times is automatically downloaded to my Kindle every morning around 3am. I get up, and there it is.

But books are what we’re talking about here. Electronic rights have been an issue for publishers and authors alike for some time. The field of electronic publishing has been in flux, and yet zooming ahead, leaving everybody confused. The publishers want to tie up the rights to a book for electronic media not even invented yet. I assume that’s why I can’t download Geraldine Brooks’ new book–or any of her books, in fact.

But John Saul’s new hardcover, The Devil’s Labrynth, still in hardcover, is available for download for $9.99. His book Perfect Nightmare, out in 2005 and currently available in paperback, is available for your Kindle for only $5.59.

Do the authors still get paid? Of course. The price is cheaper because there’s no printing, no paper, no ink, no fancy four-color, embossed covers, no gas consumed by shipping palettes of heavy books.

I downloaded Barbara Kingsolver’s amazing book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and paid a whopping $9.99. It’s still in hardcover for $26.95. I can annotate my copy, highlight passages, do anything I could do to a hard cover book, and I don’t have to store it in a bookshelf and I don’t have to box it up if I move. If I delete it eventually because of lack of space on my Kindle, Amazon.com stores a copy for me, complete with my annotations, so I can download it again for free later if I need it. My electronic bookshelf is at their place.

I know of a New York editor, who, instead of schlepping heavy boxes of manuscripts to and from home every weekend, now converts manuscripts to .pdf files, loads them on his Kindle, and he has only 5 ounces to take home with him. Pretty sweet.

Again, I’m not trying to sell these things here. I’m just spreading the word about an amazing new product. Technology that works. 

Again, I’m shouting for joy. 

This is the ultimate tool for readers.

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Filed under editors, Joy, Reading, Writing

My new Kindle

This is not an advertisment. It is a shout of joy.

I received an Amazon Kindle as a gift last night, and I’m already hooked on it. The New York Times is automatically delivered to it at 3am, so I can browse it over breakfast. I wirelessly downloaded (in about twenty seconds) a book I’ve been wanting to read for $9.99 (all new release books are only $9.99). I can get all kinds of newspapers, magazines and blogs downloaded for free over their “whispernet” which doesn’t cost anything extra. It uses the cell phone technology.

It’s easy to read, and there are thousands of books available. I’m going to make my backlist Kindle-ready in the next month or two.

Is this the Beta or the VHS? The HD-DVD or the Blu Ray? Is the Sony e-book going to become the standard in the industry, or is Kindle? I know that people have been trying for a long time to get the e-book right, and I have to say, I believe the Amazon people have finally done it.

It will revolutionize publishing.

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Eliot, oh, Eliot.

Here’s the thing about Eliot Spitzer.
He was my hero.
He took all those greedy damned CEOs and inside traders and made them do the “perp walk” in public for humiliation. He brought Old West justice to Wall Street. I loved him. And he rode that wave of public trust and righteousness to the governor’s mansion.
And then this!
How stupid. He must have some kind of a self-destruct thing going on.
I saw a talking head yesterday say that if he had used a private madam, no one would have ever known. But he used a stupid internet site and wired money in excess of ten thousand dollars, which is what got the FBI involved, because they thought he was taking bribes. 
I don’t know that what he did should be prosecutable, but he surely deserves to be shunned.
I was horribly disappointed, after thinking of him as a crime-fighting white knight.
Turns out he was just a guy.

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Thinking about prayer…

Prayer is an interesting thing.

In my spiritual program, we’re told to pray only for knowledge of God’s will in our lives and the power to carry that out. That has served me well all these years. I try not to petition for things, as I believe we all have our paths, we all have a different journey, and there’s no way I know what your journey is, so it would be impudent for me to make requests.

And yet…

My sweet ex-husband, Evan, one of my favorite people on the planet and still one of my closest and dearest friends, had devastating surgery yesterday. I found myself asking everybody to pray for him. This is his third disfiguring, life-threatening battle with cancer, and nobody expected him to be around come 1985, much less 2008. He knows he’s been living on borrowed time and that has given him a great sense of humor about it all and a fragrance of gratitude that is pleasant to be around.

Evan and I raised two stellar kids together. We were not good mates, but we are great friends. When our marriage began to crumble back in 1990, we decided to jettison the marriage before it ruined our friendship. That was a good call. We’ve both moved on to excellent relationships, and remain close with each other and our kids and grandkids. The thought of losing him makes me crazy.

And yet how much more can we expect him to endure?

So when I ask you to pray for him today, I’m asking you to pray so he has knowledge of God’s will in his life and the power to carry that out.

That’s all.

That’s enough.

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Filed under Cancer, family, Marriage, Prayer

Namaste

I’ve heard this word for years. Namaste, almost always accompanied by hands held together mid-chest, fingertips up almost like praying, and a small bow of the head. It is like a greeting, or a farewell. I see it written in signatures after an email or a forum post. But what does it mean?

Wikipedia says this: Nepali and Indian greeting as well as a gesture. Namaskar is considered a slightly more formal version than Namaste but both express deep respect. It is commonly used in Nepal and India by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists, and many continue to use this outside the Indian subcontinent. In Indian and Nepali culture, the word is spoken at the beginning of written or verbal communication. However, the same hands-folded gesture is made wordlessly upon departure.

In recent times, and more globally, the term “namaste” has come to be especially associated with yoga and spiritual meditation all over the world. In this context, it has been viewed in terms of a multitude of very complicated and poetic meanings which tie in with the spiritual origins of the word. Some examples:

  • “I honor the Spirit in you which is also in me.”
  • “I honor the place in you in which the entire Universe dwells, I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Integrity, of Wisdom and of Peace, When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are One.”
  • “I salute the God within you.”
  • “I recognize that we are all equal.”
  • “The entire universe resides within you.”
  • “The divine peace in me greets the divine peace in you.”
  • “Your spirit and my spirit are ONE.”
  • “That which is of the Divine in me greets that which is of the Divine in you.”
  • “The Divinity within me perceives and adores the Divinity within you.”

I love this.

I’m not the type of person who would hold up my hands in such a gesture and bow my head either in greeting or in farewell, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have that sentiment in my heart every time I meet someone or say goodbye. It’s a sign of respect. It means that I honor the God within you.

We could all do a little more of honoring the God within each other, don’t you think?

 Namaste.

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