1 May 2004

Fun in the Sun [Filed under: Uncategorized]

Last week I attended the 22nd annual croquet match between St. John’s College and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. Several of my co-workers attended St. John’s, and the event is for them a sort of homecoming. Hundreds, if not thousands, of alumni were on campus not so much to watch the match as to dress in funny clothes and reconnect with classmates. The amount of alcohol consumed in the sun was absolutely astounding. The “athletes” from St. John’s imbibed as much as anyone, and frequently could be seen with two drinks in hand—while playing. Nevertheless (or perhaps as a result), the Johnnies took the tournament handily, winning four of the five matches played. That night, we also attended a cotillion in the St. John’s dining hall, complete with swing band, champagne, and strawberries and cream at midnight. It was quite a way to spend a day.

NP: Palace, New Partner

14 April 2004

Garden State [Filed under: Uncategorized]

Okay, cool peoples, time to head over to the Apple site and be enthralled by the Garden State trailer. Garden State, formerly briefly known as Largeman’s Ark, is the babylovechild of Zach Braff, star of the TV sit-com Scrubs. He also stars with Natalie Portman in the film. I am quite digging the trailer, and not entirely because I am digging Nattie P. Looks like it could be rather good. I am officially getting my hopes way up.

NP: Frou Frou, Let Go

13 April 2004

Cookie Fortunes [Filed under: Uncategorized]

There’s a Chinese take-out restaurant across the street from my office, and I usually buy my lunch there once or twice a week. Not surprisingly, I am always given a fortune cookie with my meal. Yesterday, my fortune read:

Depart not from the path which fate has you assigned.

I have no intention of challenging the wisdom of that little gem… but I should say that this restaurant gets the best fortune cookies. They’re a constant source of joy and enlightenment. I think if I eat there enough, my elevated consciousness may lead me to transcend this earthly existence entirely. Some other little nuggets of distilled wisdom from recently consumed fortune cookies:

  • In silence man can most readily preserve his integrity.
  • Wisdom is only found in truth.
  • To be loved, be lovable.
  • You have an unusual equipment for success, use it properly.
  • It tastes sweet.

Go forth in understanding and spiritual harmony.

NP: Broken Social Scene, late night bedroom rock for the missionaries

9 April 2004

Kundera on Blogging [Filed under: Uncategorized]

First and foremost: Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events are being made into a feature-length live-action film starring Jim Carrey (this is old news, but worth repeating) and the film is set to be released December 17, 2004. Somehow, a TV promo spot [requires QuickTime] has already made it online. It looks exquisite. The casting for Klaus looks a bit off (too old, too tall, too skinny, too un-bookish, etc.) and I have no idea how they’re condensing an as-yet-unfinished series of thirteen books into a single movie, but I’m thinking this could be great. Really, really great.

I’m finally getting around to reading Kundera’s Book of Laughter and Forgetting after finally finishing Sigrid Undset’s Jenny last week. My friend from work tells me that women like Kundera, but I have enjoyed reading his books more than almost any other author. I was quite pleased to come across the following passages this morning while I was waiting for my car to be fixed (translation by Aaron Asher):

Graphomania (a mania for writing books) inevitably takes on epidemic proportions when a society develops to the point of creating three basic conditions:
(1) an elevated level of general well-being, which allows people to devote themselves to useless activities;
(2) a high degree of social atomization and, as a consequence, a general isolation of individuals;
(3) the absence of dramatic social changes in the nation’s internal life.

But by a backlash, the effect affects the cause. General isolation breeds graphomania, and generalized graphomania in turns intensifies and worsens isolation. The invention of printing formerly enabled people to understand one another. In the era of universal graphomania, the writing of books has an opposite meaning: everyone surrounded by his own words as by a wall of mirrors, which allows no voice to filter through from outside.

One morning (and it will be soon), when everyone wakes up as a writer, the age of universal deafness and incomprehension will have arrived.

No, the irony of my posting this here is not lost on me, thankyouverymuch.

NP: Franz Ferdinand, 40 ′

P.S. —I have a new address and phone number. I don’t know if anyone who cares reads this, or if anyone reading cares, or if anyone cares, or if anyone reads this, but here is the new info:
Michael Hoke
4400 East-West Highway #916
Bethesda, MD 20814
[cell] (202) 236-5705

14 February 2004

Bland repose [Filed under: Uncategorized]

On certain days, amid the wandering refrains, the vague and fleeting impressions, and half-formed conversations I carry on with my inner self that constitute the majority my brain’s activity, a color will creep and leave its humor in everything I think and dream. Today is an orange day.


Beloved! amid the earnest woes
  That crowd around my earthly path
(Drear path, alas! where grows
Not even one lonely rose),
  My soul at least a solace hath
In dreams of thee, and therein knows
An Eden of bland repose.

And thus thy memory is to me
  Like some enchanted far-off isle
In some tumultuous sea,—
Some ocean throbbing far and free
  With storms, but where meanwhile
Serenest skies continually
  Just o’er that one bright island smile.

NP: Beth Orton, Sweetest Decline

28 January 2004

Points in no particular order [Filed under: Uncategorized]

Things not to be happy about:

  • My dear friend B— moving to Italy this week.
  • Ice storms.
  • The zipper on my coat breaking…and we’re having ice storms.
  • Joining Friendster, and having precisely two friends.
  • Having to move…and then having to move again in six months.
  • Not getting to talk to my sister on her birthday (happy birthday, Suzie!!), mostly due to my own incompetence.
  • Everything else.

Things to be happy about:

Things of no importance either way:

NP: cEvin Key, Frozen Sky

18 January 2004

Impending Departure [Filed under: Uncategorized]

Excerpt from “Departure”

It’s little I know what’s in my heart,
What’s in my mind it’s little I know,
But there’s that in me must up and start,
And it’s little I care where my feet go.

I’m getting restless; I don’t know where I want to be, but I no longer want to be here. If I end up going to law school, I fear it will be for no better reason than to provide myself a change of scenery. I have always been largely indifferent to my own fortune; I’m not terribly concerned with how I fare, so it might seem odd that I would fear making such a decision. I am also a professed fan of whimsy and caprice, so an insistence on having good reasons would be entirely out of place for me. The problem is that I have compelling reasons not to go. Acting without reason is caprice, but I am beginning to think that acting contrary to reason is folly, or perhaps even perversion. I have not the energy to secure my happiness, but I still don’t want to indulge the perversity of spirit that would attempt to achieve my own destruction. Unfortunately, the old imp of the perverse is alluring in its mischief, and difficult to resist. I wonder…where might I find myself in September?

NP: Stars, What the Snowman Learned About Love

7 January 2004

A Cause for Celebration [Filed under: Uncategorized]

I woke up yesterday to a wonderful story on NPR: a new study has been published in the Annals of Internal Medicine concerning one of the many benefits of caffeinated coffee. Evidently, drinking coffee regularly reduces the risk of developing type II diabetes by half. An article in the Arizona Central states, “the study’s co-author stressed that no one should conclude that coffee is a ‘magic bullet.’” Perhaps this study alone is not sufficient to conclude that coffee is the drink of the gods, but all the evidence taken together is quite compelling. A study in 2002 showed positive effects of coffee on memory in the elderly (Ryan, Hatfield, & Hofstetter, 2002, “Caffeine Reduces Time-of-Day Effects on Memory Performance in Older Adults,” Psychological Science, 13(1), 68-71). I’ve found references to several other studies showing that coffee reduces the risk of heart disease, colon cancer, and even impotence and pregnancy (though the “magic bullet” warning seems particularly appropriate here…).

A fig for tea-drinkers: I raise my cup to coffee!

NP: Wilco, She’s a Jar