Thoughts from the mountains of my mind. Sit back and relax for awhile.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Boychik Lit Is Hipper Fratire

The new term fratire, or fraternity satire, was coined a year ago by Warren St. John of the New York Times, presumably because his editors did not approve of another term that rhymes with "chick lit."

But somehow, fratire just doesn't seem catchy enough. And that preoccupation with fraternity culture - is puking on your own shoes really all that interesting?

How about - boychik lit instead? Derived from the Yiddish word for a young man who has more chutzpah than brains? Boychik lit can be a counterpoint, alternative to, and parody of the hugely popular female-oriented fiction genre. Moreover, boychik lit defies the widely held notion that today's young men won't or can't read, presumably because they've been conquered, co-opted, and rendered brain-dead by the video game industry and excessive self-abuse.

As to the population at large, even if they are not rabid fans of chick lit, the woman-on-the-street and her cowlicked male companion will both know something of Bridget Jones's Diary and The Devil Wears Prada. An even larger audience of TV viewers will have eagerly anticipated episode after bodice-gripping episode of Sex and the City.

One need not stray beyond the lush pastures of HBO to find the demographic home of boychik lit. Entourage is a series about young men on the make in Hollywood. However predictably repetitive the subject of scoring in Babe-alon, not only young men but also men of a certain age who fantasize about being young never seem to tire of Entourage.

The godfather of boychik was Peter De Vries, longtime New Yorker editor and (today) the lamentably deceased and mostly unsung master of the male-centered comic novel. For example, never one to shy way from topics in questionable taste, De Vries wrote Slouching Towards Kalamazoo, about a confused young man who elopes with his teacher, and Forever Panting, about a struggling actor who divorces his wife to marry his mother-in-law.

To summarize, in the boychik-lit story:

  • The male main character is looking for sex and is bewildered by emotional entanglements.
  • He is a hacker and a slacker, clever and resourceful but chronically lazy.
  • He's a dropout who can't hold a steady job.
  • Far from being the hero with a single tragic flaw, the boychik is riddled with worrisome flaws, with one or two possibly redeeming qualities.
  • The tone is observational and witty, sometimes sarcastic.
  • The boychik tells his story in a confessional, first-person narrative.
  • At the end of the novel, the hero has almost managed to undo the complicated mess he's made in the course of the story and thinks he has learned important lessons, which may or may not be valid.
Oh, and one more crucial distinction: The chick-lit novel is typically set in New York City, ironically where many people readily understand what a boychik is. The boychik novel is set in Los Angeles, where many people will mistakenly assume that boychiks wear wigs and stiletto heels and hang out in certain bars in West Hollywood. # # #

Read the author's blog where he discusses his own recent contribution to the genre, My Inflatable Friend: The Confessions of Rollo Hemphill.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Humor - Advice for Newlyweds

My granddaughter got married in Illinois so we hopped in the car and emptied our pocket book at a dozen or so service stations along the way.

I should say "gas" stations as there is no such thing as a service station since the man with the "star" turned in his badge—except in New Jersey and Oregon where it is still civilized.

Twice I decided to put my wife's handicap tag on the rear view mirror and look forlornly out the window—but nobody volunteered to pump gas for me—and nobody seemed to care that I had about ten zillion bugs on my windshield.

So I pumped my own gas and watched the pennies zip buy at the speed of light while the gallons moved as slowly as molasses in January in Nome located on the south coast of the Seward Peninsula which, if you haven't been there or have been there, is in Alaska.

Removing bugs squished on my windshield at 75.3 miles per hour is horrific. The speed quoted is the combined speed of my Sienna and the bugs, but that is only an estimate. Dragonflies, which make a big splat, could raise that to 75.35 or so.

God made bugs of mostly waterproof, instant-setting epoxy resin. I always carry a spade in my car for the tough spots. My wife says the scratches the spade makes are worse than the bugs. How could that be?

Having always had a persistence to study nature, I study each squished bug carefully to see if I can add a new species to my "life bug list" which I keep in my glove compartment next to my "life bird list" and my "life rock list."

We had stopped in the fossil hills of Wyoming to look at past squished critters and I saw that I had an extinct cousin of Dendroctonus ponderosae on my windshield— Dendroctonus ponderosae nowdeadacus—or ancient pine beetle.

I hoped to register this with The World Federation of Extinct Species so they could remove it from their list, but I realized that I would be accused of making the extinction of Dendroctonus ponderosae nowdeadacus final.

Anyway, I could not scrap the bug onto my sticking note, so they would not believe me anyway. Also, the photo I took of the bug was as blurry as the bug.

By the way, did you know that we are losing a number of species of farm animals every year? I read that at:

We got to Newton, Iowa where there was a pre-marriage reception for my granddaughter and the handsome quarterback she had landed. He is the twin of his wide receiver who was married last year and so got ahead of him.

Some of our old Iowa friends were at the reception and we exchanged lies and other success stories. It was very hot in the building and the caterers could hardly keep the punch bowls filled. It was not any cooler in Illinois on the banks of the Mighty Mississippi.

I always call the Mississippi, "Mighty." I wonder if I leaned that from Mark Twain who hung out on the river. Do you remember Indian Joe of Tom Sawyer fame? I think that Tom Sawyer was one of the first movies I ever saw. Indian Joe scared the daylights out of me. When I was birding with my Number 2 son on the bank of the river, I kept an eye out for that sneaky Indian Joe in the woods.

Well, my granddaughter and her man were married in the Nauvoo Temple as were her brother and older sister. It is the custom of we Mormons to get married forever so that is what they did.

Here is my advice to the new couple:

Keep Truckin'!

The End

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Real life, or Something Like It

I live my life online as do many of you, and lately I have been frustrated by how hard it is to leave the virtual world and find the physical items that I need to do business with someone.

I mean, who has the time anymore? What with all the hours spent creating fake MySpace celebrity pages and linking them to my real accounts, setting up new SecondLife virtual businesses, sending IMs to all my far-flung correspondents, Skyping colleagues to keep up to date on what they are doing around the world, updating my LinkedIn profile and writing endorsements for others, reading my group email postings, downloading free music to play on my iPod so I don't have to talk to people as I am walking down the street, and checking out the latest overnight rankings on various game servers to track my progress, is there any time left to just live your life in what used to be so quaintly called meatspace anymore? Who needs meatspace when there is all this meet-space, anyway?

Remember that cell phone service that tells you when you are in the vicinity of your friends? It seems so odd now. Why bother going out, when you have all your broadband at home? And when I am out, I find myself looking around to figure out where I can get connected. This is the beginning sign of addiction.

Is it any wonder that we can't carry on a real f2f convo anymore? (And how many of you had to stop and decode that last sentence. LOL) At least we are all becoming excellent touch typists. I guess that is one skill that has shown improvement across all demographics. That is, if you can take the time to type out the entire sentence and not abbreviate it as I just did.

And I didn't even mention updating all of my blogs and creating podcasts, sending out these email updates to my mailing list, maintaining the mailing list and associated Web sites, and doing my usual round of online backups too. Isn't it nice that we all these systems to make us more productive? How about spending some time creating actual content, rather than all this babysitting our data?

It is great that we can Google anything anyone anytime, and research their college indiscretions (lucky for moi Al Gore hadn't invented the Internet yet when I was that age), but try finding a postal address, a phone number, or a contact name on the average Web site nowadays. Or how about trying to find any indication of the company you are surfing has actually been in business, or is still in business. It hasn't gotten any easier to get these mundane pieces of information, with phishing emails and hijacked URLs. (Have you all gotten the latest batch of Paypal messages saying that money has been deposited to your account? Don't open those.)

This just proves my point: we all live in the virtual world, and concentrate our energies on the screen instead of each other. So gather up your individual laptops, sit on the couch with the TV on and with a few IM sessions open, and don't forget to grab your cell phones in case someone wants to call you. On the other hand, it has gotten easier to screen my phone calls — the only people that call my wired home line these days are selling me something, or wrong numbers.

Ok, I gotta go post this email and get back to doing some real work for my clients.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Sending the Kids Off to College Should not Break the Bank

Well here it is another school year at an end. The kids are ready for summer, fun, beaches, parties and everything else. What they are not thinking about are colleges. They, in fall will be off to college and possibly working and a busy schedule.

By taking the summer in steps you will have some extra money for college. As you all know books will break a bank. They in some cases are more expensive than the classes. The kids of today want to party and have a lot of fun. But by sitting with them and telling them that you are paying for college does not teach them, but by saying you are going to assist them and help them, you may find this will be better on your wallet.

In June let the kids rest. They sure have earned it. But tell them by July you want them to have a part time job that will help pay for their summer fun and also some they can stick aside for college. This is an easy step. They should have no problem agreeing with this. Work it out on a spreadsheet, after they get their job. Take half and show them over the summer what they will have. Sure it may not amount to much, BUT at least it's a start.

In some cases the kids are only going to a junior college. They can still keep their job. This is great. That way they can still have the savings during the year.

Another step that you can take is if you don't want them to work, but just rest most of the summer for their college adventure, then you should not have to sock them all their fun money…they should work part of it off. They are never too old to take out the trash.

By working with your kids you will find that they too are willing to save and work for what they want.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Computer Graphic Schools Foster Dynamically Digital Careers

Considering computer graphic schools that can help you start a graphic design career? Stanley Gilbert, a long-time graphic designer and illustrator, who also teaches design and illustration at Austin Community College (AAC, Austin, TX), stresses the importance of finding your niche.

"Prospective students should weigh the alternatives between an intensive two-year program like ACC's and more laid back, but academically challenging, four-year computer graphic degrees from a university," says Gilbert. That's because, as he explains to his students, having work skills is not enough in an industry that shapes film, theatre, music and literature -- degrees from computer graphic schools will set you apart. "You've got to have some of the 'it' that sets you apart, and full, well-rounded [computer graphic degrees] are vital, whether you get it formally at a university or informally on your own."

Before Computer Graphic Schools...

In his own experience, Gilbert learned early on after graduating from Texas State University in the 1970s with a degree in commercial arts, and trying his hand at a freelancing career, that it would take another school stint to keep up with the technology. That's when he decided to attend ACC (where he would later be asked to teach as an adjunct). And students wishing to attain computer graphics degrees, he says, are taking the first step toward a lucrative career.

"I couldn't recommend a better launching pad into the business for a freshman student than a design certificate or degree from a reputable and well established school," says Gilbert. "If I had had such opportunities from the start, I might have been in the business for 30 years now instead of only 20."

Skills to Seek at Computer Graphic Schools

Whether your choice computer graphic schools emphasize computer graphics degrees or computer aided design programs, Gilbert says there are basic skills that designers should learn. They include being able to:

  • Exhibit a high level of creativity used to solve problems

  • Think outside the box while functioning productively inside the limits

  • Write, speak, and create effectively

  • Respond quickly and inventively to client's needs

  • Demonstrate good hand-eye coordination

  • Pay attention to detail

One thing is for sure when considering computer graphic schools or computer aided design programs: "The industry keeps expanding both technically and in job description," explains Gilbert. The time to start pursuing computer graphics degrees is now.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Holistic Universities - Meeting Alternative Education Demands

Find Holistic Universities in the United States and Canada. While the fields of alternative and holistic medicine continue to expand, so does the growing demand for integrative and complementary healthcare. This explains the phenomenal development and rise of holistic universities.

Today, one can choose from any number of holistic universities that offer a broad spectrum of healing arts modalities. Whether you elect to enroll in a chiropractic course of study, or if you are more drawn to massage therapy, then holistic universities can provide you with education and training to meet your personal and professional aspirations. Chiropractic holistic universities do, however, require prerequisite education from an accredited college or school. Furthermore, students choosing to pursue their doctor of chiropractic degree will quickly discover that the majority of chiropractic holistic universities call for a mandatory 4,000+ hours of clinical, class and lab training.

Holistic universities offering bodywork programs, for example, will typically provide education and practical training in musculoskeletal anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, deep tissue massage, sports massage and Swedish massage. For more advanced courses, a number of holistic universities will extend hands-on instruction in acupressure/shiatsu, Chinese medical massage (Tuina), cross-fiber massage, craniosacral therapy, Rolfing technique, lymphatic massage, Thai massage, and a variety of other specialty bodywork methodologies.

Holistic universities offering Oriental medicine studies will give students an opportunity to learn about Eastern medicine philosophies, including education in acupuncture, Qigong, Chinese herbal medicine, needling techniques, moxibustion (cupping), and other related coursework.

There are also holistic universities that offer training to students who desire to become holistic health practitioners. Applicants who engage in this course of study will gain a wealth of knowledge and skills in holistic health modalities including instruction in mind-body-spirit medicine - which may involve energy healing therapies, bodywork, herbology, natural health, nutrition (vitamins, supplements, etc.) and associated classes in anatomy, physiology and pharmacology.

Overall, conventional medicine is no longer the only proverbial "kid on the block" for treating common illnesses, ailments and disease; holistic universities provide the necessary academics and training to accommodate the popular demand for holistic MDs, chiropractics, acupuncturists, massage therapists and the like.

If you (or someone you know) are interested in finding holistic universities, let career training within fast-growing industries like massage therapy, cosmetology, acupuncture, oriental medicine, Reiki, and others get you started! Explore career school programs near you.

Holistic Universities: Meeting Alternative Education Demands

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Thursday, May 3, 2007

Closed For The Season

It's time, folks. I need to board up the cabin for awhile and take a vacation from blogging. It's definately not permanent. I could keep blogging every work day but I think I need to force myself to not do it for awhile. I'm also on vacation starting Thursday for a week. I'll still be reading everyone's blogs, I just want to not have to put anything down on mine.