no other reading in your whole life does.

ImageI’ve toyed over and over with the idea of getting an e-reader. I think I’m one of the only people I know who doesn’t have either an iPad or a Kindle. (Well, I do have a hand-me-down Kindle but that’s not the point.)

The point is that I excitedly loaded a few (free) literary classics that I had been meaning to read and then promptly read none of them. I signed up for an online literature course and downloaded the whole reading list to the Kindle and then read none of those.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of being able to carry ten, twenty books with you at any given time in addition to magazines and newspapers too. BUT I couldn’t get on board with the feeling of it. And I could never put a finger on why. And today, Austin Kleon’s blog included an Mark Athitakis excerpt that just nailed it:

“[I read] almost always with a pen or pencil in my hand, ready to underline a sentence, scribble a margin note or, if I’m particularly struck by something, dash off a trio of exclamation points. I don’t think of this as something I do in addition to reading — it’s how I read. So something always feels a little off when I read a book on my Kindle or iPad… E-books promise all sorts of frictionless interactivity, except the one I really want.

Note taking is just one problem. Books aren’t just in conversation with readers but with themselves: What happens on page 362 harks back to something on page 15 that foreshadows events on page 144. Noticing these connections is part of my work, and it wasn’t until I began reading e-books that I realized how much bouncing back and forth I do in a physical book, something e-books don’t easily facilitate. Readers enthuse about being immersed in a good book, but e-book progress bars encourage us to read only one way: straight ahead, at a sprint.

Basically, in the wise words of Kathleen Kelly via Nora Ephron, “when you read a book as a child it becomes part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does…”

And the way you read that book as a child becomes a part of you. E-readers won’t ever become part of my identity because they’ll never have the same feel or smell or breed the same sentimentally that a good old fashioned book can.

Amiright? Or shall we agree to disagree?

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looks good?

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I have long struggled with this sentiment because it’s easy to read and harder to do. I think as someone who is a internet-phile (did I just coin that term?) it’s especially hard to not get down on yourself. 

This giant world is made that much smaller by the posting, tweeting, instagramming, vining, texting, trending that happens. Which is a beautiful thing. It also makes you feel like crap sometimes right?

It’s that much harder to go to your boring 9-5 job and plug away at your desk sucking down crap coffee when you see that your friend of a friend just made the Forbes 30 Under 30 List. 

It makes you depressed that your dinner was beef jerky and leftover potato salad from your work meeting when your friend posts pictures of her organically harvested, slow roasted three course dinner.

There’s an interesting discussion that your presence on the internet and social media is no longer just a record of the goings-on of your life. It has become your brand. And let’s face it but no one is putting up unflattering pictures of themselves or posting about their worst nights. So it’s like comparing your life with someone’s highlight reel and that’s not really fair or productive.

SO, I’ve been busy peeking into other people’s lives and getting down on myself for not hitting every career goal, not making enough money, not Skyping enough with friends, not calling my mom enough, not having the perfect outfit, and effing up yet another hare-brained Pinterest project, BUT I’ve also been enjoying the fresh snowfall, trying out Vietnamese dishes, eating an ungodly amount of hot wings, and chilling in a newly acquired onesie.

But you didn’t see all that. Cause it all happened (mostly) offline and it felt good.

And isn’t that what counts?

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Friday, Gangnam Style.

Hello friends! Happy Friday and thank goodness right?

I’ve had two weeks in a row where Tuesday has felt like Thursday which is a miserable feeling, let me tell you. But I did have a great time at 826NYC’s Dueling Bingo Event–raising money for creative writing for kids.
That’s me on the right supporting Kathy Najimy’s Bingo win!

Then, last night I had the immense pleasure of re-watching Step Up on the Highline. If you haven’t seen it, you probably should.

Tonight I’m headed to the Intrepid to revisit Jurassic Park. I’m so excited for the velociraptors in the kitchen and Newman getting sprayed in the face. Yes, those are my favorite and most vivid memories of Jurassic Park.

I hope you had a great week and have some plans for this weekend. Here are some things to help the weekend get here faster.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

On that odd note, have a fantastic weekend and see you on the other side!

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Friday Reflection & Round Up

It’s Friday and it’s been a busy and productive week. I’m happy that I’ll be able to sleep in tomorrow. It’s the first time in a while where that’s been the case. I hope you get to sleep in too–you know, if you’re into that sort of stuff.

Here’s some other stuff you might be into too:

  • My friend, Afarin, is raising funds for Camp Kindle–an amazing organization that does fantastic things for kids affected by HIV/AIDS. Consider supporting her today!
  • For you voracious readers out there, this might be a good resource to save some moola and try out some books.
  • The NYT just ran an article about the challenge of making friends.  In a new city, in a new job, I can relate. I hope it gets easier.
  • Apparently, you should avoid going to hospitals in July. Here’s why.
  • What is this sorcery?
  • TimBieberLake. Just think about that for a second. And then watch this.
  • Planning on supporting 826NYC next month and playing some Bingo! Join  me?
  • You’ve got to sell your heart.
  • Trying to arrange a skype date with seven people in three (or four) time zones is tough work. So is planning hang outs with friends in the city you live in. Doodle  is a neat tool you can use to help streamline the process.

And lastly, I want to close by sending my condolences and well wishes to those who were affected the by the awful shooting in Colorado last night. I usually keep the fare here pretty light-hearted or upbeat, but I thought I would take a moment to talk about this.

This resonates with me on so many different levels but mostly because when I heard this particular piece of news, I thought of this:

This picture was taken late one night in 2008. We were home for the summer from our second year of college. We were excited to be together and excited for a movie. We played cards and ate dinner on the sidewalk. And in that moment, we didn’t have a worry in the world–aside from nabbing good seats for the show.

And it’s that moment I think about when I hear news like the shooting today. My heart goes out to those kids who had their lives irrevocably altered at a moment that was supposed to be outside of the world of problems we face every day.

Why do we go to movies? It’s a chance to hop into a theater with friends and leave your life at the ticket counter. That for two hours, you get to be in a different time and place, and look at a world that is easier than the world you live in. Where there are bad guys, and soundtracks, and the suspension of your disbelief. Where anything is possible.

And I’m so sorry that that secret, safe place where cinema can take you was brought crashing down by the stark reality of the troubled world we live in. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

For those in Colorado, my hope is they find that sense of peace and safety again. And soon.

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Tardy Tuesday…

Does time ever get away from you? Do you lay down at night and ever wonder where all those hours went? Is this starting to sound like one of those informercials that play late at night?

Well, it seems like the last few days have gotten away from me. I had a fantastic weekend that was busy and relaxing at the same time. There was a beach day on Saturday at Far Rockaway which was a smashing success but left me drained for the rest of the day. And then a day spent indoors cleaning and cooking–we made beef bourguignon a la Julia Child.

Blog post to follow.

But let’s get back on track first.

So here’s a belated “Monday Monday” if you will.

So recently there have been two developments in the student loan game that sort of negate one another. First off, President Obama just signed off on a bill that would keep student loan interests fixed at 3.4% for the next year. Which is good. I mean it helps out thousands of students this upcoming school year who are going to take out loans. But that fixed interest rate is only guaranteed for a year. Who knows what it’ll just up to 365 days from now. It’s a start though.

Secondly, starting this past Sunday, graduate student loans going forward will no longer have a grace period. Traditionally, you take out your loans, finish school, have six months to scrabble together some income and then your loans start accruing interest. Now loans will start accruing interest while you’re still in school. So by the time you graduate your loans have already been billed interest for the last two or four years or more if you’re in a PHD program…

Every now and then I think about going back to school to pursue a graduate degree. In what exactly? I’m not sure. But the idea of tacking on more debt terrifies me. So as much as I would like to increase my skill set, actively learn, and have summers again I’m hesitant to take on more schooling with no guarantee that I’ll be able to make ends meet afterwards.

I just found this resource on Kiplinger–a personal finance site–that breaks down the best value colleges for those considering a return to school. They have a ton of other related tools as well including information about stocks, taxes, and general basics.

Interested in learning more about your loans? If they’re held by Nelnet you can attend a webinar for more information on their Money Mondays!

Now here’s what I really want to ask you…

Do you want more informational posts like these or more personal ones about what I’m dealing with? A little of both?

I want to hear from you!
So comment, email doogenblogs@gmail.com or tweet @doogencreates 

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Second Friday!

Hello hello! Happy Second Friday of the week! Because July 4th was in the middle of the week it felt like we had two itty bitty two-day weeks. Monday Friday Saturday. Monday Friday Saturday Sunday. Right? Or was that just me?

I hope everyone had a lovely day off. I slept in for a bit, headed to the park for burgers and frisbee playing, saw Ted (which was funnier than I thought!) and finished it off with some fish tacos. All in all, a good day. I did miss CA and BBQs and pools and fireworks but change is good.

Last Friday, I was headed off to Maine for Julia’s wedding and we stayed at a cottage on the water with this as a backyard…

As we drove across the state line, I noticed that Maine’s state motto is “The way life should be.” Which I thought was a little pretentious and pompous of them. But then I woke up on Saturday and went swimming in the river, ate eggs benedict with blackberry lemonade, stopped by an exhibit about Frances Perkins because the Museum’s Board Member, Morrison, (with full gray beard & Gilligan boat hat) told us to, and then headed for a rustic wedding complete with strawberries, lobster, and blues/folk dancing. The sun was shining and people were friendly. The way life should be. Oh Maine, you’ve weaseled yourself into my heart.

On the road I also spotted some New Hampshire license plates and their motto is “Live Free or Die.” Live.Free.Or.DIE. John McClane would be proud. Yippee-Kay-yay…

Some internet findings that I liked this week:

Hope your weekend is full of sun, sunscreen, and watermelon!

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