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The litter in littérateur. - Part 4
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Awesome, heartbreaking David Foster Wallace interview from 2003

Get ready to give 90 minutes of your life right now.

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-01-30

  • A few photos from the GF1 of @josepharthur at @rickshawstopsf on Tuesday: http://gen-o.com/shorturl/jasr #
  • The Formula For Perfect Parallel Parking…fun, but no help to this parker. -More at http://npr.org/122880263 #
  • These coaches' challenges seem like a bad idea! #
  • I feel like I felt in 2006 while rooting for Zidane in the World Cup final, hoping Favre can still win this one after his mistake. #
  • How do people not understand the necessity of the AIG bailout? Who are these people?!? Are they human, much less American? #
  • That was a very good speech. Now, how about some results—and by results I mean universal health care not pandering economic rhetoric? #
  • Point by @CBSNews about how the Internet has trained people to be terribly impatient and that impatience shapes public policy for the worse. #
  • Re Chris Matthews: Who knows what sort of productive conversations we could have, as a society, if people were allowed to mention race! #
  • Salinger gone. Don't ever tell anybody anything. #
  • Why opinions about the Apple iPad are meaningless: http://bit.ly/bDAu6F @COOLERebook, I'm looking at you and your empty, rhetorical retweets #
  • Newsday spent $4MM to put up a pay wall last fall. In three months, only 35 readers paid for access. http://gen-o.com/shorturl/ndpw #
  • RT @NewYorker: Dave Eggers remembers JD Salinger: http://ow.ly/11YAw #salinger #
  • "…what struck me most was how wounded they were with…all the thorny emotion of life, of the world." http://bit.ly/dwQXpE #

Responses to Salinger

Over at the New Republic, Gish Jen asks, Why Do People Love Catcher in the Rye?

Meanwhile, the New Yorker’s Book Bench blog has collected remembrances and responses from several people, including Wes Anderson, Dave Eggers, and Joshua Feriss. The New Yorker’s Lillian Ross has also unearthed some photos she took of Salinger during the 1960s.

James Barron, who often lends his voice to the Times’ daily Front Page podcast, goes over the New York sites from Catcher in the Rye on the City Room blog.

The Guardian has a good roundup of other coverage.

News from New York bookstores

Vanishing New York collects some news on a shake-up in Manhattan bookstores: Biography Bookshop in the West Village, which you might know because it’s across the street from Magnolia, is moving. Left Bank Books, which has a wonderful selection of collectible and signed editions. Finally, Skyline Books in Chelsea is closing.

Why the iPad buzz doesn’t matter

A lot of people are saying a lot of things about the iPad. It’s revolutionary! It’s too compromised to be useful! It lacks important features like a phone, multitasking, camera, Flash support, etc. What’s certain to me is that the reactions—pro and con—are pretty much meaningless right now. I was trying to think last night about previous Apple product launches and how I felt about them. As I recall, there have been two Apple products in the past ten years that, when introduced, immediately prompted me to say, I want that! One was the Titanium PowerBook in at MacWorld in 2001 and the other was the iPod with video in 2005. Both products were updates to existing product lines. In the case of the PowerBook, it added a design unlike any other that I had seen before. In the case of the iPod, I thought that video would be a great feature that was worth waiting for. (Everyone knew it was coming once Apple had introduced the iPod Photo.) But here’s the thing, I’ve ended up not using the video feature at all during the past four years, really. I watched one movie on a plane once, and that was it. It wasn’t until I got an iPod Touch with a larger screen and better battery life that I really bothered to use an iPod to watch video.

The greater point here is that no one disputes that the iPod and iPhone were both game-changers—products that people now love and that redefined Apple as a company and a brand. I can safely say that when they launched, I didn’t want either one. I didn’t have anywhere close to enough of my music in MP3 format to make the iPod useful, and it was expensive too! The iPhone was even more expensive when it launched, and I remember thinking that there was no way I would get one because it would never handle email as well as my BlackBerry did. Of course, I did eventually get one, and it still doesn’t handle email as well as my five-year-old BlackBerry. But I don’t care because it does so many other things that I value. I can read the newspaper—several newspapers—in formats that are actually useable! I can listen to Internet radio. I can listen to live baseball games. I can listen to NPR on demand. I can browse the web. I can read stories from the web that I started reading on my laptop. In short, I can do a lot of things that I either didn’t know I wanted to do or whose value wasn’t properly contextualized for me until I actually had and lived with the device for a while.

I’m not saying that the iPad will succeed, but I am suggesting that the factors by which people are predicting its success or failure are, more than likely, incorrect because they are captive to our previous experiences. Who knows that developers will come up with for the device? Who knows what features a second or third generation update might add? Who even knows what it’s like to live with an iPad in your bag or on your desk for even a week? If anyone can take a product for which I feel I had no need and make it desirable, it’s Steve Jobs and Apple. As usual, I’ll be rooting for them. More

How to recover erased .RW2 and other RAW files from SDHC cards

I recently lost all my GF1 photos from my SDHC card. After shooting about 70 photos, I put the card in a USB reader and it appeared to be empty on my computer. There are several free programs that will recover JPEG images from cameras’ memory cards, but recover RAW files—especially those from non-Canon/Nikon cameras—can be a little more difficult. Fortunately, there’s a free, open source program, PhotoRec, that will recover your deleted image files. You should note that once your files have been deleted, you should not continue to shoot any photos with the card in your camera. Any additional photos may overwrite the deleted photos that you want to recover.

Joseph Arthur at Rickshaw Stop or the GF1 and concert photography

I took my GF1 to a show by Joseph Arthur earlier this week, and although the noise at 1600 ISO is considerably higher than that of any dSLR, it held up reasonably well. I also tested out Panasonic’s EVF live viewfinder for the first time. Unfortunately, it is small, low resolution, and not particularly good. However, it was better than having the huge LCD on the back of my camera lit up in a dark venue. Click to enlarge the images below.

My favorite things of 2009

Here’s a list of things from 2009 that I particularly liked. The list has no order to it. And so:

Leica M9 — A full-frame camera that not only is not an intimidating SLR but also comes from the greatest line of cameras—the Leica M series—but is also a gorgeous rangefinder, but also gives you access to the best glass in the world. In short, it’s my dream camera—the one that leaves me short of breath and utterly destroys my syntax when I attempt to write about it.

New York Yankees — There’s something about this team that I really liked more than any Yankee team since the 2001 group that lost the World Series to the Diamondbacks. Teixera, Sabathia, Damon, Matsui, Melky, Burnett, a beautiful new stadium, and the Core Four! What fun they made October and November.

Albert Stash — A laptop bag with a handle that you can actually use to carry it for long periods of time—score!

A Gate at the Stairs — Lorrie Moore’s first novel in I don’t know how long is ambitious and acutely observed and flawed and wonderful. It made me relive, for the first time in years, one of the most intensely felt periods of my life. It reminded me what it felt like then. Can I ask any more of a novel, of a work of art?

Changing My Mind — Many of the essays in this collection by Zadie Smith have appeared in the New York Review, the Guardian, and the New Yorker, but reading them in sequence gives you a greater appreciation for the intellect and wit behind them. Smith’s new essay on David Foster Wallace alone is worth the price of admission.

Too Big to Fail — Andrew Ross Sorkin set out to write a book structured like the film Crash and as thrilling as the business classic Barbarians at the Gate. I haven’t seen Crash, but his book is every bit as thrilling as Barbarians and full of choice quotes and anecdotes from the people at the top of the financial world.

Hiroshi Sugimoto at Gagosian Gallery — I walked across town in nine inches of snow to see this show. Was it worth it? Absolutely.

Sag Harbor — Colson Whitehead’s latest novel should be read on summer evenings on Long Island. Funny and nostalgic with language that is full of vitality and of the 1980s, its effect on me was similar to that of Lorrie Moore’s book, but the world it gave me access to was entirely imaginary—Whitehead’s not mine—and altogether enjoyable. Dag!

Lamy Noto — Okay, so this pen really came out in 2008, but I didn’t see it anywhere in the U.S. until the summer of 2009. A well-designed Lamy for $10? Yes, please.

Dehumanized — Mark Slouka’s essay in the September issue of Harper’s was, perhaps, the most refreshing thing I read all year—someone standing up, for all the right reasons, to the wrongheaded bias toward math and science (and away from the humanities) that has come to pervade everyplace from the university to the corporation to the op-ed page of the New York Times.

Ellipse — Imogen Heap’s first album in four years is awesome and her live show is even more awesome. The leadoff track on Ellipse, “First Train Home,” was my favorite song of the year, and I challenge you to not like it.

iPhone 3GS — I’m still using the original 2g version of the iPhone, but this year’s update brings more storage, video capability, and faster speeds. It’s great to have a product that delivers both Apple’s design sense and a large library of applications. (The Macs I’ve used for the past 15 years have always delivered the former but never the latter.) Listening to baseball games wherever I am? Check. NPR shows on demand? Check. The New York Times in a format that’s easier to browse than NYTimes.com? Double check. Now, if only it was available on a network other than AT&T.

Panasonic GF-1 — It’s no M9, but it’s sort of a poor man’s, i.e. my, rangefinder. When paired with Panasonic’s 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens, it’s the closest thing to a great compact camera that I’ve ever used. See sample photos from others here.

Unibody MacBook Pros — These things look solid!

Range — Was this San Francisco restaurant new in 2009? I don’t know, but it’s good.

The President — Our country got a new one in January, and it was a glorious moment. The man can play basketball and speak and write in complete sentences, and he seems to have a genuine intellect and conscience and sense of ambivalence.

San Francisco Panorama — A very well-done one-time newspaper for a city that has no good regular publication.

Economic Recovery — The Dow and I are both lower than we once were, but we’re certainly better off than we were a year ago.

Cape Cod — I had never been before this year and now I hope that there won’t be a year when I don’t go there.

Empire State of Mind — Maybe this isn’t a new anthem for New York but Jay-Z’s new single is certainly fun. Sinatra needs a break now and then, anyway.

Some things that I haven’t yet gotten around to that came out this year but that I think I might like when I do: The Financial Lives of the Poets by Jess Walter, Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann, Wild Things by Dave Eggers and Where the Wild Things Are by Dave Eggers and Spike Jonze, and Wes Anderson’s film adaptation of the Fantastic Mr. Fox.

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What is poetry good for?

I just read (and enjoyed) Ian McEwan’s story, “The Use of Poetry,” in the New Yorker at the recommendation of T-Rex Tragedies, who cited this passage, which must make you laugh:

She said goodbye politely enough and went on her way, but Beard walked after her and asked if she was free the next day, or the day after that, or at the weekend. No, no, and no. Then he said brightly, “How about ever?,” and she laughed pleasantly, genuinely amused by his persistence, and seemed on the point of changing her mind. But she said, “There’s always never? Can you make never?,” to which he replied, “I’m not free,” and she laughed again and made a sweet little mock punch to his lapel with a child-size fist and walked off, leaving him with the impression that he still had a chance, that she had a sense of humor, that he might wear her down.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-11-27

  • RT @parisreview: A writer takes earnest measures to secure his solitude and then finds endless ways to squander it. -Don DeLillo #
  • "…ideological inconsistency is, for me, practically an article of faith." –Zadie Smith #
  • David Brooks on the importance of the emotional education that comes from art: http://s.nyt.com/u/Csa #

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-11-20

  • "..the promise is of infinite knowledge but what’s delivered is infinite information, and the two are hardly the same." http://bit.ly/1ivcM9 #
  • Excellent suggestion from @lmcintire for a late dinner after missing Sushi Zone by one minute: Chow. Had forgotten it after years away. in reply to lmcintire #
  • Wait, you want to replay the match, but if a similar call had affected its outcome in your favor you wouldn't want to? #

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-11-06

  • "I support children wearing helmets on their bicycles—there's just a certain nostalgia for when they didn't. When we didn't." #
  • Gold isn't a safe investment; it's a bubble: http://bit.ly/3Rhjni #
  • "Note to Joe West: home plate is the white thing in the ground in front of the catcher. It is 17 inches wide." http://bit.ly/1QFkyY #
  • Huge cheers for Pettitte—awesome! #
  • Now begin five months of waiting for baseball season to start again. #WhatIDoInWinter #
  • Greenspan suggested that housing collapse was supply and demand. To solve, he said, govt should buy and burn houses. #TooBigToFail #
  • Parade! http://www.myfoxny.com #

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-10-30

  • "…the drive to uniqueness and authenticity is what we have in common." [Just an attempt to justify absence of shared experience?] #
  • Attention is one of the most valuable modern resources. If we waste it on frivolous communication, we will have nothing left when we need it #

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-10-23

  • http://bit.ly/3qCaYLWe "…the even flimsier assumption that we could know with any certainty what was good even for us…." #
  • "…independence is not the essential quality of a mind or personality." #
  • Platon: Immediately after McCain announced his presidental bid, he celebrated in the limo by listening to Abba's "Dancing Queen." #tnyfest #
  • Platon: Mos Def's motto: "Trust few. Fear none. Love all." #tnyfest #
  • Karl Rove to Platon during a shoot: "If you're photographing me, you don't need any advice. You've already made it." #tnyfest #
  • Platon: Immediately after McCain announced his presidential bid, he celebrated in the limo by listening to Abba's "Dancing Queen." #tnyfest #
  • Platon: "I just use the camera as a vehicle to connect with people and experience things." #tnyfest #
  • Listen to Bon Iver's set from last night at the New Yorker Festival #tnyfest including a couple unreleased songs: http://bit.ly/1lyeV6 #
  • Platon: "I shoot film. Digital is rubbish." #tnyfest #
  • No publicists or media types seem to have noted that Obama was reading "Be Quiet, Be Heard" during the campaign http://bit.ly/2VaIjS #
  • Lots of new books out this week: The Tyranny of Email, Too Big to Fail, What the Dog Saw, Super Freakonomics…. #
  • Why is @mcnallyjackson not displaying the Andrew Sorkin book on the first floor? That should be a no-brainer! in reply to mcnallyjackson #
  • Read up on the BN Nook. When will there be an e-reader with real, built-in, professional fonts? #

The most popular independent bookstores in America (on Twitter)

NFI Research has compiled a list of the independent bookstores with the most Twitter followers. Powell’s of Portland comes in first, by far, with 9,880 followers as of October 13, 2009. New York stores dominate the list, and only one Bay Area store, Booksmith, even makes an appearance on it. This is a sharp reversal of the state of things earlier this decade when notable stores, such as Coliseum and Gotham, were closing in New York, while Cody’s and Book Passage were expanding in San Francisco. A revival of indie bookstores has taken place in New York over the past couple years with successful openings of Idlewild, Greenlight, and Word, among others.

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