Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Why SeaWorld rocks

1) Free beer. Yes, that's right, FREE BEER! SeaWorld is owned by Anheuser-Busch, so they have a beer garden, the Budweiser clydesdales, and lots of free beer. Not just Bud, but lots of delicious microbrews. Did I mention it was free?
2) You can touch things. Cool things, like dolphins, stingrays, and starfish, not to mention the petting zoo. It's so cool when a stingray sucks up a smelly sardine from your open palm (their skin feels like wet jello).
3) It's for adults too. This ties into the beer thing. SeaWorld is great for BOTH kids and adults. The park has activities and exhibits that appeal to a diverse demographic, like the animal performances, game arcade, and feeding the dolphins.
4) SeaWorld is educational. Besides being amazingly fun, you can actually learn stuff if you want to.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Reading, Concerts, Sailing, etc.

Time to catch up a bit. I'll start with my long neglected reading list. I recently finished Birds of America by Lorrie Moore. It's a collection of short stories with an overarching melancholy that's tempered by bursts of dark, but poignant humor. Not the best, not the worst, but a worthy read.
Next up was Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. The basic premise is that experience allows you to make insightful choices based on thin slices of information. Also, our judgement can be derailed by racial or gender bias, information overload, stress, and marketing. One thing that was particularly interesting was the application of these ideas to personal relationships. We can misconstrue our biases for positive qualities in others and end up with brain dead, but attract partners (or presidents). Also, what we say we're attracted to and what we're actually attracted to are completely different things. Trying to qualify attributes that are purely qualitative is simply an exercise is self-justification, so beware of your biases.
Two books that were pure crap were The Last Lecture and The Power of Now. The Last Lecture was simply pompous and self-congratulatory. Just because you're facing mortality (we all die someday) doesn't mean you have all the answers. Lame. The Power of Now is essentially cognitive behavioral therapy dressed up in new age jargon and pumped out through the Oprah machine. CBT generally has a positive view within the psychiatric community and is an effective tool for a number of issues, so why the new age window dressing? Double lame.
On to my last book: When You Are Engulfed In Flames by David Sedaris. This book rocked! It's insanely funny and David's flaws and eccentricities gives me renewed appreciation for the quirks that make us human. Highly, highly recommended. Buy this book now.
Outside of my books, I've just been enjoying life these past few weeks. Last weekend I saw Combichrist at the Avalon. It was a solid show; rough, sweaty, and loud. For the 4th, I took a trip to Santa Barbara and went on a sailing cruise. I've never been on a real sailboat before, so it was an interesting experience. I liked the silence of the sails as we cut through the waves, but I still prefer flying over the ocean in an over-powered jet ski, jumping the white capped waves or blasting full throttle on the rare days when the ocean is flat and still as plane of glass. After the cruise, I spent a bit of time on the beach. However, the nearby fires were raining down ash, so I called it a day and heading back to LA. Saturday was BBQ and today I went surfing in Santa Monica, grabbed some lunch, then went hiking in Griffith Park. All in all, life = good.