I have written about many things that I enjoy in the world of analog hobbies. Now perhaps it is time that I write something in the negative column. I detest competitive eating. I always have.
There are many frivolous pursuits in this world, and the realm of analog hobbies almost always involves some sort of consumer product that, if not the object of the hobby, is some sort of supply for the facilitation of it. For instance a stamp collection usually needs nice pages to put them in. Fountain pens need ink. Cameras may need film. In the cases of stationary and such, we use much nicer things than we need, surely a ball point or Ticonderoga pencil, with some notebook paper would do, but we indulge ourselves in the better pieces. That’s all well and good. However, I cannot abide competitive eating.
According to feedingamerica.org, 41 million in the United States alone face food insecurity. 13 million of them are children. However today I read this article, Competitive Eater Downs 501 Chicken Wings For Record-Breaking Win – TIME.
Molly Schuyler is the new champion of the eating world it seems. 501 chicken wings. It makes me sick. I suppose hobby shaming isn’t a thing yet, so here you have it.
Now, I have my excesses. I collect things. I could always do more charity. I buy things I don’t need. I have written about the need to be wary of consumerism, which is a warning to myself as much as anyone. I find competitive eating to be the very worst though. 13 million kids who are not sure where their next meal comes from, and we have people celebrating this.
I grew up in Chattanooga Tennessee. I believe that it is the home of the Krystal burger. I do love Krystal and they are fairly common where I come from. I remember that about the time I was starting to drive, around 2003, Krystal put itself through a revitalization. They remodeled or cleaned up their stores, made fresh new commercials and continued to sell the same great product. They also had Krystal eating competitions. I remember well that I was confused as to why they would do that. If they could sponsor some ninety pound person to eat several hundred Krystals, why were they not hosting free burgers for the homeless, or ensuring that some of the 5.4 million seniors in food insecurity, had a hot meal.
I have always been troubled by seeing hungry people, be it in life or on television. I was never hungry. Not once in my childhood did I miss a meal. I was just always upset by witnessing hunger. Later, as a young adult I walked the streets of Baghdad and saw hungry people. So many hungry kids we didn’t know how to help them all. We also had to transport humanitarian aid packages to refugee camps due to the “resettlement” as they called it when people reclaimed their homes with the downfall of Saddam. We transported and delivered the goods to make sure they got to where they were going safely. I have pictures of the kids who cheered our arrival knowing we brought food, some school supplies, and probably sweets in our pockets. I would post them, but I’m still not certain that is a good idea, for their sakes. I see those kids every time I put food on the table for my kids. It makes me mindful to teach them the ideas of charity and gratitude, to be sure not to waste.
I see those kids when I look at these people too.
I did not come here to chew the fat on this subject, I came here to say exactly what it is. These competitive eaters and the institutions which facilitate them are morally bankrupt, reprehensible, deserving nothing less than the complete disdain of everyone with any kind of human decency. In the case of Schuyler’s latest “achievement,” the culpable party is the entire city of Philadelphia. They put on the Wing Bowl every year, whether the eagles go to the Super Bowl or not. I suppose they are trying to tell us that Philadelphia is a utopia where there are no poor or hungry people? I’m wagering that this is not the case.
A couple of points. Firstly, this is not to include people who finish some larger than average meal and the restaurant gives you a T-shirt or takes your picture. Some of the accomplishments above are like that, but we are not talking five pound pizzas. That is a waste. If your finish the big bob burger or whatever, good for you. You can still take that home. You will probably never be in possession of 501 chicken wings, that when consumed in a single setting for a contest, are an immense waste. Secondly, ignorance is not an excuse. You do not have to be able to quote hunger statistics in this country or any other to be able to tell that competitive eating is for human trash. You do not have to know how many hungry children there are to know that there are too many for this kind of vile spectacle to continue. Other writers have called for competitive eating to be banned, but in many cases, such as this USA Today article, the ban call comes from the dangers posed to the competitors. I do not care one jot about these competitors. I know, it is a poor humanist who says that, I am working on it. Really though, I do not. I do not even agree with a ban. We are America, not the USSR, and we cannot just ban things we do not like, or that or so wasteful that it could be a crime in some places. However, I do say that what we can do is ensure that we spread the word about how many hungry people there are, proper food charities, and the fact that this human garbage…disposal is not an athlete, and not a champion. Oh yeas a champion eater to be sure. Also a champion at putting a finger in the face of every kid who goes to school mostly because they are served a hot meal there, at laughing at every hungry person in the world, a champion at stepping over the poor to receive this year’s “Trump Greatness Award.” This is America for you, and this is why the other countries hate us. You do not have to respect these people. I am not calling for harm, but we can stop supporting the businesses that put on competitions where they can get 10,000$ for overeating during an obesity and eating disorder crisis, nestled just nicely on top of the poverty I have already mentioned. Here’s looking at you Nathan’s hotdogs. We can put these people on every social media website where readers will care. We can call them out for the scumbag gluttons they truly are.
Some people will not like this. I’m ok with that. It is time to pick a side. Please, do not like this, and then go try your hand at pie eating or something. For those who haves the depth to hate this, here is Feeding America. Their Charity Navigator results are very good, so I put my trust in them.
In closing, this is an analog hobby that I will not support. It is one that I will cheer the end of. In anticipation of someone asking, “but what if they donate to Feeding America with their eating winnings?” Firstly, prove it. Secondly, food is still a resource which must be grown, raised, and prepared, and which can be made scarce. Giving currency to the food charity does not cancel out criminal amounts of food waste created by competitive eating.
This is not going to sound like an analog story, but it is. One of the first real things for humans was, I argue, other humans. Real things, as I have said before, excite the senses, stir memory, and give life to the heart. The first, most fundamental, and the basis (IMO) for all other real things is quite simply, your company, the people in your life. When we enjoy things, especially analog things, we want to share them with our friends, family, the people whose company we enjoy.
I started to write this the other night, and now I have had to start over to make the appropriate changes. When I started it, the man who is at the heart of it would probably have gotten a kick out of the fact that I wrote about him. I never entertained the idea that he would not get to read it, or to know that I wrote about him, but now that is the reality.
Just because I run an analog page does not mean that I exclusively enjoy analog things. The Savage happens to be a film junkie, especially for those which are deeply rooted in my life, those that are so deeply ingrained that to remove them would most likely cause some form of withdrawal. Halloween movies are where I would say an easy quarter of these types of favorite live for me. We love Halloween, almost nothing better in the world. This past Saturday I took the boys to the local pop up of Spirit Halloween to acquire a costume for the toddler. This particular Spirit is built into a mall as it turns out, and we went on the right day to wander into a Halloween fair. Between Spirit and the Halloween fair I came back considerably relieved of some of my spending money. I love to support people who make things, if the thing they make is worth buying, like these.
These are amazing, but the winner of the day was the licensed Hocus Pocus merchandise from Spirt
These wonderful items required me to reflect on this film and how I came to love it. That took me back to 1994 in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee. I was seven years old, attending Allen Elementary school. This movie had been a rave at theaters, and the fact that it was going to come out on video (VHS) was heavy buzz at the time. Some cousins of ours owned a video store, if you come from Soddy Daisy, you may remember Volunteer Video. It was in the same building as the Soddy Daisy Bi-Lo, on the side, next to the tanning bed. My mother would let us hang out in there since it was our family that owned it, while she shopped. I want to put out a disclaimer now, this is being remembered from the perspective of a child, and most of it took place at least 15 years ago or more, I am not clear on exactly who owned what or when, but I am also not writing a history of the Bledsoes and Leffews.
Anyhow, the waiting list for a copy of Hocus Pocus at this mom and pop video store where they used rubber bands and paper tags to mark cases where the movie was all rented out was forever long. Everyone wanted a copy and had gotten on the list well in advance. The people I remember being there were our cousins (who to this day I call aunt and uncle) Kim and Terry, and Terry’s parents Felix and Loretta. Later, in some combination of dates, they would all live in the small house built by my great grandfather, Eugene, parent to my grandfather and the before mentioned Loretta. There were three houses on that plot of land where my first memories come from and where my family had lived since what I understand was just after World War II.
My mother still took me to the video store, which was alway fun despite the movie you were after being booked. Felix was behind the counter (remember they were all family and any weekend spent with my Grandfather or Uncle Fred was partially spent with Kim, Terry, Felix, and Loretta as we were playing with Kim and Terry’s children too) and when he asked what it would be, if I wanted The Nightmare Before Christmas again (he knew my common rentals) I said yes. He asked if I was sure, and when I gave the affirmative again, he reached under the counter and pulled out a copy of Hocus Pocus with my name on a sticky note asking if I would rather have that. I could not believe it. There it was. Just for me. Plenty of people wanting that movie and there was this copy held for me. Plenty of people may have been involved from Terry to my Mother having called ahead, but it was the warm face of Felix who handed it across the counter to me. I never forgot that. I had always liked Felix, but from then on I felt like he and I were really friends, and it is now twenty-three years on and I wear that movie thin every October.
Felix always had a kind word, a smoke, and a polo shirt. We were always welcome in that house, we ran in and out all day every season the weekends that we were all together, and none of them ever complained at us. Felix would happily let you sit and watch the Tennessee Volunteers game or whatever movie was on with him. He was not a perfect man I am sure, and I probably knew him least of all the people who remember him well, but I knew him well enough to know that he was a good man, and that is more than the belief of a child. Later he would get a Facebook and we would share a word here and there, not as much as my memory of him indicates, and he would like just about anything I posted, especially pictures of my kids and such. I think the last time I may have seen him for more than ten minutes in person was 2008, and we were on leave from Iraq. I do wish I had taken more time for him. I read that he was having surgery and offered a comment, but really it barely registered. I should have done the real thing. I should have picked up the phone. At least I should have messaged him and had a ten minute chat with him. I am not full of regret, but Felix did not come back after that heart surgery to tell us he was doing well. He passed away.
I believe there are many measures to a person, but the ones that are most important to me are how you treat those who are smaller than you, and how good the stories are that are told about you. Felix has excelled at both. Felix, I was already in the process of telling the Hocus Pocus story, but now I have gotten to write more, ironically, because you are not here to read it, and you had a positive influence on a seven year old cousin who grew up to share this film with his friends, family, and especially children. If I am wrong, and there is any sort of afterlife, then that place is certainly better as of last night, and this world is just a little more time. Thank you Felix.
I have been meaning to do one of these for a while, and now I am finally writing our first digital win piece. A digital win is what it sounds like. It is about things that, in my opinion, beat the analog version of itself for various reasons. In this case, it beats the hell out of it. Today’s subject is the audiobook service Audible.
My personal history with audiobooks goes all the way back to 1996. I was nine years old, a pretty heavy reader for my age, beating accelerated reader into the ground, raiding my school library, and begging my mother and grandmother for every Goosebumps book that came out, or that I did not already have. My first audiobook was Goosebumps: A Night In Terror Tower. It was a cassette tape that I am pretty sure my mom came home with just because. It was about an hour and twelve minutes long, and I listened to it so many times, I am fairly certain I had it memorized. Every time I cleaned my room, walking around with my head phones on, at daycare after school. It was pretty high on quality too, had different actors, some mood music, I loved it. Turns out, I still have it.
I took the next step in audiobooks by buying tapes from the library when they sold them off. After that, after I got in the military and had the money to acquire my first IPod (30 gigs, the first ones with video on them) and I could shop for audiobooks on the iTunes market place. Since 2007 that was the end of that story, I acquired books at the rate of one or two a month so that I could take them to Iraq with me and listen. After Iraq my wife and I started using them on road trips (military families tend to travel a good bit) and really that has been our standard protocol for all road trips. We even have our favorites, The Silence of the Lambs would be worn out now if it wasn’t digital. They were pricey so we had to listen to them a good bit sometimes, just to avoid buying new ones. The last one I bought was Patriot Games from ITunes.
Enter Audible. I found out about audible five years ago. As they are the providers of Apple’s audiobook content, their prices are very similar, but they have a subscription service. The subscriptions are the way to go. They have credits, and I have not seen a book a credit will not buy. For twenty-five dollars a month I get two credits, which is far under the price of an audiobook. When I started this, that wouldn’t buy a single Harry Potter title, now it gets one per credit. The idea behind the business model is that you will use your credits and need another fix, and then you will find that your membership also buys you a massive discount on books. I have never bought another book without my credits that was not priced below the value of a credit. Way I have it figured if a book costs less than ten bucks (super rare) then I wont burn a credit on it. I have paid for the extra three credits here and there, but overall, I just use credits. They do not punish you for this at all. There is not some shifty little trick that says you have to buy a book outright every so often.
Why I say digital audiobooks are superior to analog (as well as what makes Audible the service of choice)
- Space. Analog audio books (if you can really call it that) take up physical space. They are either tapes or cds and usually a hefty few of them. They come in cases that take up space, and thats even if you do not have the nice ones that clip the tape into them. Space is the long standing argument that exists about anything analog that has a digital solution. Digital audiobooks take up exactly the space the device you already own occupies.
- Durability. Those tapes and cds wear out, they take damage. It was not until the Bluray that I thought discs were durable enough. I collected cds, but those things are super low on the durability rating. It does not matter if they are kept perfectly, they end up damaged. They can be lost. Tapes have a finite amount of plays of them, which can be pretty high, assuming the tape player does not kill them. Digital audiobooks on the other hand can be downloaded again and again, played forever.
- Cost. If physical audiobooks cost material to produce, you should cut that out of the market. It has been a bit since I bought a real hard copy, and they can be found for resell at most used book and movie places, but again space. Audible can beat anything legal that provides audiobooks as far as I know. Twelve fifty per book is a hot rate considering most books cost between 25 and 30.
- Cloud Service. I have audible apps on everything. My phone, my wife’s phone, the iPad, the computer, everything that will take it. So long as I have service for the device I can download any of my books on the go. Not only that, but it keeps my place. Listening in the car, get out, go in, play it on the iPad and it will pick up right where I left off.
- Return value. Audible lets you return your credit bought audiobooks for exact value of the credit back. There is a time limit on the returns, I think it is six months. However, thats a large window, and you can download your audiobooks to iTunes if you want before you return them. You would never see that kind of return value on tapes or cds.
- Selection. Audible’s market is huge. I am yet to not find a title I wanted. They have it as soon as anyone else has it. I wager that if the audiobook exists, then they have it. There were a few exceptions, Harry Potter for a while was sold out of the Pottermore store only, but they wisely backtracked on that.
- Selection again. They have The Great Courses. It used to be true that you saved money, but lost out on the additional materials by using Audible for this, but no more! Now you get the supplement books as a PDF as well.
- Statistics. This is a personal pleasure. I love seeing how much time I have spent listening, and my only regret that I did not know about it before and a lot of listening time is missing. They have badges and listening stats. I love that.
Cons or things that can be better
- If you return the books, but have them downloaded to iTunes, you can no longer cloud them. The Audible app has a section built in for your iTunes books, but they still have to be downloaded to the device, which takes up device space. I can download them to my device and they show up in iBooks as well, so the only advantage to having an iTunes section in the audible app is that you do not have to switch between two. Considering it still takes device space, and it does not contribute to the statistics. I would like it if either service would cloud books in iTunes like they do for audible or for music.
- Once that six months passes you are forever stuck with a book. Not really a big deal, but after that your return value is gone, and then you cannot even trade it in somewhere.
That is all I really have. I consider myself a pretty hard core audible listener and I find it to be well worth the money. I have yet to think of a reason for having physical copies of audiobooks. Audible won the fight for us. I do not even use all of the features, like the ability to create book marks in an audiobook, and I still feel like I get much more than my money’s worth out of this service. I listen while cleaning, while working, while running, exercising, even in the shower.
My pattern at this moment is to listen to fiction and read history and academic books. I need to be able to make notes from those works and I do not have the time to go around for both, not like I would like to have. I had a hard time convincing myself to listen to my fiction stuff, but my wife said something I found to be wise, “would you rather not get to absorb them at all?” She finished that for me. It increased my reading efficiency. I know, a lot of the analog is about slowing down a bit, but that does not count here. I would only pile up tapes, and I would have mountains of books I couldn’t read. Now, having the audiobook of books I already own physically brings up the question of whether I should keep those, but thats a whole other story. We live in a world where we have less time, and now we have a way to put some books in the background to ensure we get more reading done. If you want to really pack them in, you can speed them up ( I listen at 1.25 speed.). We always say we are about what’s real, and what is real here is getting to consume a book, the content of that book is what is real to me. Just like the space and money saved.
My name is Brandon and I am an audible addict. My library has 84 titles and I have spent 1 month 5 days 8 hours and 11 minutes listening to audiobooks since finding audible. What about you? Do you like audiobooks? Do you use audible already? Tell me about it!
The Analog is about what’s real. We are avid Tea drinkers, but now, for our children it has become a traditional part of the day.
People search for a time to have sit down and have a real conversation with their children, everything is fast, especially the amount of time you have to impart values and structure to them. So, with our oldest in kindergarten this year, and the knowledge that he functions well with routine, we instituted family tea time.
Everyday, he gets off the bus, brings me his bag, and sits down to tea and some kind of light snack (the baby just drinks his milk and munches biscuits if he’s awake) and tells me about his day, we review his folder, and discuss his behavior marks for that day (all good so far!) and then after that he goes on and plays for a bit before dinner.
This accomplishes so much! They get a light snack to hold them till dinner, an idea like English Tea Time, and the French le gôuter. He tells us something about his day, it instituted a daily time where I am to be shown his school work (and in the future) his homework, so that it is addressed immediately upon coming home. My mother is one of those parents who says “I knew about projects the night before!” Well, lesson learned.
Most importantly though, with the exception of showing him pictures his teacher posted on the class to help him remember what he wants to tell us, cell phones, iPads, leap pads, television, and so far even the record player are all banished. I know what your thinking, but I rebanished the phone after snagging a couple of photos. People, cookies, tea, talk. Oh, and some dishes that I may get a cold stare from my grandmother for using, should it turn out she reads Analog Savage by chance.
I know it is hard to find time to do things with your kids, especially real things. I am essentially a stay at home parent when school is out, and there still isn’t a full days time to work with it seems. The demands of life combined with modern convenience are a strong duo, but where there is time, make the best of it.
What are your after school traditions (should you be able to have them)?
When I was a kid, my dad worked as essentially a large scale repo man. He had one of those awesome Polaroid cameras for documenting the stuff to be repossessed. We, the kids, were not supposed to grab it and take pictures. With that said, Mr. B (for your privacy) if you are reading this, I apologize, I know that film cost money, but we couldn’t help it. I admit it. I also do not think we opened any new packs, if it helps, but thank you for making sure we could find your Polaroid. I’m sure you noticed a lot more than you let on.
My first camera was an analog camera, a great 110 that was Ninja Turtles themed! In fact, film was how I found out there was no Santa Clause. I was clicking away as we cleaned out a home for my disabled great aunt, with some film I had gotten for Christmas. My mom told me to stop, I said it was my film, she said she bought that film. Poof, delusion nailed out. In all honesty, I kind of figured, but I had a kid sister to act for, and it was still fun.
Seventeen years of Digital cameras later (minus me taking 35MM film on my trip to Germany) and the analog/instant photo is making a come back!
How many of you know someone with an instant camera? I bet most of you (self depracating joke would be to say both of you) know at least one person who has an instant camera, and it is probably some kind of Fuji Instax. This is my little red beast!
I have had it for a couple of years now, and it is showing its time in service. It has been dropped by me, and dropped and thrown by a toddler several times. It may be running out of time, and there are more advanced models out there, but for the price (between 60-70$) you cant beat this thing. Point, Click, Bam! Classic instant photos with that good old vintage look.
In fact, that is what I bought mine. I bought it for the point and click, capture a memory, not many second chances (and at around 1$ a shot retail be careful with the second chances) stick it in a journal and move on. Wow… today is that day where everything comes full circle. That was part of how I started this blog, I was putting our families journal online. My plans have changed some, I was learning as I went, but that was the idea take photos of our family and glue them in. Here’s a look back at the Savage past, the infant stages.
We have evolved since then. I do still stick the pictures into my journal, and wouldn’t ya know it, Midori and The Travelers Notebook have accessories for doing just that. I also have a few extras because I just enjoy them.
I have also gotten another camera, which is far less point and click, The Lomo Instant. Based off of a camera from the former Soviet Union, Lomography has made taking vintage and ruddy photos into an art form.
This one does have some lenses, and yes there is the ever nifty double exposure mode, but what it really has is a company with soul! Lomography Is a bit hipster up front, but you are going to get some of that when you bring back photos that cost money the moment you hear the click. They have a shop, you can join and share your photos with the comunity, which I will do when their platform gets a little more user friendly. Even better, they have the Ten Golden Rules. I have been trying to abide by the one that says take your camera everywhere, but that is harder than it seems when it is bulkier than a cell phone. However, we know what my rules are, and one of them is to have a bag. Now I have one to carry everywhere, and the camera too! Do not let those rules get you bogged down, use them for inspiration really. They will help you figure out how you want to embrace this resurrected tech.
I went through some experimanetal phases. I read about a man who took a Polaroid a day (yes it was most likely the actual Polaroid stuff, not just people using the term today) and they are all an album online. It was a really moving series, which I want to recreate myself. I started trying it out, and the result was the life in instant photo series posts you see on here. They did not work, but my desire to complete a Jamie Livingston type experiment lives on! I have a pretty good stock pile, I just have to figure out how to put them up. I will get back to formatting later. Anyhow, a word on the Lomo Instant. That thing is in no way user friendly. If you buy it, it will come with some little printed photo cards with printed suggestions, use them. If you do not you will end up with a lot of blacked out or whited out photos. You can learn all the ins and outs of this camera, but those cards help you not to waste film.
I took my camera to a Red Sox vs. Rangers game and when people realized what I was doing, they started offering to pay for a photo of them and their family that they could hold. They are great for more than just your journal, you can give them away, you can hand them out, you can start a conversation about something tangible in your hand that is imperfect. I went through my computer the about a month back. My hard drive was getting full. when my first son was born I bought a decent digital camera, DSLR, and went banana sand which taking photos for the next four years. I ended up deleting 30,000 photos. That number is not exaggerated, it is in fact rounded down. Let that sink in, 30,000 photos deleted. There are around 17,000 more. That is a decades worth of photos total, but man what was I ever going to do with all of them? They were not even separate photos, I would point the camera at my kid and hold the shutter down. It was like a stop motion film, but less fun. If nothing else, the cost of analog photography slows you down a little.
Don’t get me wrong, I have so many memories of my family preserved that did not eat up money or physical space, but at the same time, I almost stopped enjoying taking them. You have seen me say, do not let recording life stop you from living it.
I do not know about you, but there is something great about a simple photo, with little to no jargon involved, that looks like it came from the 80s, not taken on a smart phone, on real film. The ironic part is that you will still want to show it off, and that will require some very digital stuff. A scanner, or a smart phone with a scanner app. That is how I do it.
If you go down this self developing road, start with the Fuji Instax. I still have days where I want to throw the Lomo. Here are my tips:
- Order your film on Amazon, it comes out a little cheaper if you buy it in the three pack bundle.
- Never buy the Polaroid film (in mini 8) it is the same as the Fuji, and costs 16$ for ten shots, where as Fuji is 20$ (retail) for twenty shots.
- Get something to stick your photos in, they dislike pockets, a little tin or something will work.
- If you use the travelers notebook, embrace the analog photos
- Don’t wait, life isn’t getting longer.
This is my stash of film for while we are in New York, and there are already two packs in my kit bag! This is the wonder of Amazon, it makes the cost hurt sooo much less.
What is your favorite analog photo?
Time always moves strangely to me. You have an idea, you start it, you work on it, but it is a long term project and you allow it to sit and flow over time.
The last time I wrote about this was almost a year ago! I promise I have since scratched some books off of the list, and there is more of this to come.
The premise here, again, is that like Denzel Washington’s character from The Equalizer, I am working my way through the list “100 books everyone has to read before they die.” The list can be found here.
Today we examine Pride and Prejudice, and The Great Gatsby. I am most likely going to make myself very unpopular here, but you do not have to read these. Keep in mind all things said here are just my opinion, and I am heavily influenced by what I would consider the bigger historical issues.
That is right, I said it. You do not have to read these, despite what the list says.
Let us tackle the Austen first. This is an amazing story, but as a text, it is difficult to chew through. I read the book. I have listened to the book. I have watched several versions of the movie, and an episode of ‘Wishbone.” This book’s relevance is rapidly becoming lost, in my opinion. Jane Austen wrote this during the Napoleonic Wars, and it is an excellent social commentary on the time. However, we have since moved on. We have moved far on. I am not trying to just kill off classics that are outside of their time, but unless you are studying 19th Century English Literature, or maybe on a looser level just English history, then these social issues will not fall into place I feel. As I said, I love the story, but I love it when it is acted out. When I read it, I would have to take breaks, and by breaks I mean read other books, or the time it takes to move to other states. People are going to hate me, and I will now watch my back for the members of the Austen Society, but I am scratching this off and replacing it with The Silence of the Lambs, by Thomas Harris. Maybe the novel would have stayed on the list had it gone into the larger issues of the Napoleonic Wars, but again this is colored by my views on history, and how it effects the modern world.
When I say that I enjoy the story, just not the book, I cannot say that in any way for The Great Gatsby. How this is considered “the great American novel,” I will never know. The novel flopped hard, and Fitzgerald went to his grave feeling forgotten. Later it was given to the soldiers who were going to WWII, and they connected with it, revitalizing the book. (Wikipedia, The Great Gatsby)
There is the point. The soldiers that connected with this novel, were the guys who had fathers and such who had been in WWI. They understood the social issues this book represents, and the times in which it was set. Just as soon as WWII was over, the depression era was dead and gone in America, we were in the post-war boom. It was a new era. The only thing stopping this book from being just as irrelevant as it began, was the brief moment it enjoyed. Time does not make bad things better, sucked then, sucks now. If this book was not as popular as it is, The Plaza would not have made a Fitzgerald Suite. Let this die, I beg of you old sport, let this fade back to where it belongs.
In exchange I offer you something else. Kids today need to understand how we got where we are, how the 20th Century culminated. They need to understand the events that led us to the 1990s, the 2000s, the last election. For your consideration, I give you, The Cold War: A New History by John Lewis Gaddis. It is not a novel, but it is relevant, entertaining, and coherent, all things that Gatsby is not.
Life is too short to read bad books.
I bought this kite from Bridge Kite Shop, and this kit can be purchased here. When I had found the website for Bridge, this was what caught my eye. Not just the prospect of building a kite myself, but the idea that the units or cells could keep going. Four cells make a kite, then make each kite into a cell and assemble four of those, well you get the idea. This kit comes with everything you need except for scissors and glue, which both the website and instructions tell you.
I will not say much about the design, as I cannot say anything the website does not already, but it is named after the designer of this kit, Greg Kono, and Alexander Graham Bell, who apparently made something very similar to this.
The kit itself could not be simpler with very good instructions. My biggest tips is to dip both ends of a spar (stick) in glue at once, as you will not be able to move the whole frame to the glue so get both ends ready for connectors at once. Also, I used a brush to put the glue on the paper folds that go around the spar. I also recommend decorating the sails ahead of time, the kit papers are clearly marked so you will know where you will be placing the designs or coloring. I went with rubber stamps of the the Death’s Head Moth, but I was attracted to the idea of Bridge’s kites because I can color and decorate them with my kids.
I could have let each stage dry before continuing on, but it was not necessary. I did let the fram dry for a day before applying the sails, and I let that dry for another day before attempting flight. My kids and I took it our first in eleven MPH winds, and that achieved lift very well. It was the lack of sustained wind that stopped us from getting a sustained flight. We had a similar issue with thirteen to fifteen MPH winds, plenty of lift, just no sustaining winds, so it is not the kites fault, nature was just teasing us.
We have it on a quick reel, which is not what it came with. The reel is not a problem, but I feel that clipping the quick connector rather than using two overhand knots as recommended, may have destabilized some of the flights, and that was very much my fault. The quick connect, goes on one spar, while the over hand knots would secure to the entire top connector, making a solid tie point, rather than encouraging it to spin on an axis.
Another tip, do not worry about excess glue, this will help create a very complete and secure bond between spar and connector. I tried to be cautious about excess, which I later realized was a mistake. I had to reglue several connections where I had left room for the seal to break, after the first flight. The second flight saw no broken connections despite higher flights and falls, because the seal was complete.
My oldest also got the hang of sustained flight with his Spongebob diamond he recieved for his birthday. If it had not have been for heat, we would have stayed out flying, ignoring the TV and electronics. Safe flying and make sure you get something from Bridge Kite Shop.
I have given up on the slide shows, they were a nuisance. I have opted instead for a few photos hear and there with a link to the full collection. There should be little to no narration, just analog still frames of life with no do overs. Full album here.