Books I read in 2013 w/ reviews

Here is every book I read in 2013 and my thoughts on them. Meant as reviews not as a brag. Presented in favorite to least favorite order.

1. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbaugh

Loved this book. Really hard to describe, but I loved the writing and it had great characters and unlike a lot of the books it reminded me of, it ended well.

2. Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart

Loved this book. Takes place in a scary but believable future and had a main character I really related to. There is one scene where a bunch of old friends hang out that describes the sad aspects of male friendships better than almost anything I’ve read/seen.

3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Great book, super fun read. If you were planning on reading but hadn’t got to it, do it. Before the movie comes out!

4. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

This kicked off my YA reading mini-binge. Loved it.

5. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

This is a YA book about love. Never thought I’d be reading so many of these, but this one is really enjoyable. There is some Hollywood-ish stuff about the relationship that I didn’t mind when I was reading, but bug me now.

6. The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos

Great detective fiction. Read as part of my Read Everyone who Wrote on The Wire checklist. The best of that checklist.

7. The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp

They made an okay movie about this. The book is better (duh), but its a fun YA book about an alcoholic ultra-extravert (i.e. the kind of character you see in movies a lot but don’t see in books much). 

8. Old Mans War by John Scalizi

Good book. Sci-fi book about old people who fight outer space wars in young bodies. Fun, but it doesn’t really end and apparently the sequels aren’t popular.

9. Swamplandia by Karen Russell

This was in a lot of 2012 Best Of lists. I see why because its a real fun read. Like Jonathan Lethem, etc where its literary-lite. Not genre-y so its “literary” but not at all dense with themes and such. 

10. True Believers by Kurt Andersen

Fun novel by the host of Studio 360 on NPR. Probably will never think about it again, but I liked it while reading it.

11. Foundation by Isaac Asimov

Read this when I was young and re-read it. When people complain about the Star Wars prequels like Patton Oswalts bit about how its a movie about senate procedure, its because Asimov made it look easy. Its kind of amazing to read heady Sci-Fi thats not about characters at all but still works. That said every story works the same and you get a little sick of the twist endings.

12. The Whores Child by Richard Russo

Love Richard Russo, so I enjoyed it, but its not as good as his novels.

13. Mystic River by Dennis Lahane

Sad book. Real good, but if you’ve seen the movie you don’t need to read. Kindle Daily Deals and completing my ‘Read one book by all writers of The Wire’ checklist lead me to it.

14. The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh

Fun book, but pretty slight. Its a farce about an English writer in Hollywood.

15. The Blind Side by Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis is the most readable non-fiction author, his books are so much fun. This one is no exception and very different from the lame ass movie about it.

16. A Sport and A Pastime by James Salter

This is a sexy novel. I admired it but didn’t enjoy it, but then went to a book club where I found that nobody shared any of the opinions I had of it (even if they liked it too).

17. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Kind of a slice of life about a lady. Lots of loose threads, but in a realistic way. Took me forever to read because of the time shifts made it lose narrative drive. However, thats more a personal opinion, I think this book is better than many of the ones above it, I just enjoyed it less.

18. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Re-read my old favorite book after watching the (not good at all) movie. Still enjoyed it and it was much better now that I had help visualizing the game they play.

19. Look at Me by Jennifer Egan

Okay book that I read because I loved A Visit From the Goon Squad so much. Good but not memorable. 

20. Double Down by Mark Halperin & John Heilemann

Book about the 2012 election. Nowhere near as good as Game Change by the same people. Super insider-y which is the point. Both its best and worst quality.

21. The Optimists Daugher by Eudora Welty

Don’t remember much about this book. It was well-written but it didn’t speak to me. About a Southern lady whose father dies going back to her hometown.

22. Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain

Therapist made me read it. Not a fun read but lots of useful info if you are an introvert.

23. The Mormon Regional Singles Halloween Dance by Elna Baker

Read it because of my book club. HATED IT and her as a result. She does good stories on This American Life. Don’t read this or you will find yourself not enjoying those either.

I tried and didn’t finish (even though I liked them): Keynes/Hayek, The Blind Assassin, The Year of Magical Thinking

I tried and put down because I hated: Fooling Houdini & Bleeding Edge


This is a video I made. I had the help of a freelancer and couple of co-workers, but it was for the opening of a conference. Its based on Catch Me If You Can’s title sequence. This is probably my greatest achievement to date.

Let’s Grow - Leadership Conference Intro Video


Maciej Dakowicz - Travel Photographer

Travel Photographer Maciej Dakowicz takes awesome photos.

2 Notes

Pattern 61 for iPad

Pattern 61 for iPad

47 Notes


Huey Lewis & E-40.
Bay Area icons.


Huey Lewis & E-40.

Bay Area icons.


Free Font: RIDGE

Haven’t played with it yet, but I am liking the look of this free font.


pattern 51 for ipad3 or 4, more at the pattern of the week

pattern 51 for ipad3 or 4, more at the pattern of the week


Pattern #51, optimized for iPhone5. for more and also for ipad, etc.

Pattern #51, optimized for iPhone5. for more and also for ipad, etc.

2 Notes

Why bitch is a worse word than cunt

A few months ago I was having a debate about which word is worse, bitch or cunt. I said bitch and was alone in my opinion and I couldn’t describe why very well. Today I was thinking about it again and I realized why. Rarely is cunt used to describe women, its used to describe a woman. You would say ‘Gina is a cunt’ or maybe even ‘those cunts at work’, but generally people know they are dropping a real bomb. The way that Bill Burr describes how people look both ways before throwing out their racism these days, thats how a person would use cunt (though not Bill Burr, he throws that word out willy-nilly).

Bitch is so casual. I see it most in these contexts: a) an asshole describing a group of women at a bar/party/place that he is trying to have sex with, b) ironically, c) a guy describing weakness in another guy and most often d) on the internet where a guy is reducing whatever work a woman did to whether or not he’d fuck her. ‘She’s not that funny, but I’d fuck that bitch’, etc.

Even when that particular word is not used, thats where I associate it. I am guy who lives a middle class white life, so I’m probably not the person to write this, but in general it seems like the women I see are doing better than the men. They seem to have more hope and purpose and light. Women still make less money, but that is changing and quickly. Women graduate from college more and traditionally male-centered occupations seem to be moving past the point where there was one exceptional woman and towards it being normal for women to do comedy/direct movies/be doctors/be lawyers/etc. But whenever I feel like sexism is dying, I see that form of it all over the internet. The judgment of whether a woman is fuckable as the main basis for judgment all over the internet. Its like a plague. I know that I find myself doing it (i don’t post it, but I have that comment ring in my head). To me, that form of misogyny, which in white middle class America (from a male’s perspective, so why should I be writing this) is encapsulated by the word Bitch.

That, to me, is why bitch is a more harmful word than cunt.