Tag Archives: Read

Web I Read

If not technical references, I generally avoid reading lengthy non-fiction literature. Self help books from lifestyle gurus with horticultural certifications are not my cup of green tea. And for someone who professes to be as well read as myself, I also detest broadcast news; especially all news as breaking news, flashing lights, and theatrical diplomacy, that promote little more than depression, anxiety, and fear. For more positive segments, without the morning variety show spiel, then kudos to GOOD Magazine‘s impression of my ideal newscast. Because I’m a contrarian and appreciate alternative snarky perspectives, most news that I do find intriguing are discovered through New York Magazine, Vice, and the Onion. Enjoy my other categorical exceptions below.

Every young man should be gifted a subscription to Esquire magazine; I bought mine in High School while piecing together my own Weird Science inspired role model and mentor. Esquire’s web presence has nothing on their print, and while there’s a boat load of consumerist alternatives to online Esquire, including Valet and Uncrate, I drew my metro-sexual line just before anyone should expect their appearance to trump their achievements. After diligent research, I still haven’t found a newsstand female lifestyle magazine less ignorant than listing Love, Beauty, Life, and Career Advice under Horoscopes: I’m looking at you Marie Claire.

Supplanting years of terrible ESPN web design, the new Sports Center Feed is a boon to every self confessed sports addict. In my youth, as a growing athlete, and avid sports watcher and reader, Peter Vecsey’s articulation and shrewd judgment nurtured my early literary interests. To completely avoid the New York Daily News, I shifted to reading Bill Simmons, who remains my favorite sports author and leads Grantland, the ESPN offshoot, with awesome articles and B.S. Report podcasts.

Wired, Venture Beat, and The Verge satiate my general technologist needs; TechCrunch, Engadget, Gizmodo, and Mashable are now too popular to not be written for lay people, and Pete Cashmore’s smug face is an eye sore. Without delving into an endless list of web design and development references, I recreationally enjoy reading Smashing Magazine, A List Apart, and the Firefox Developer Blog.

Reddit/pics is a great distraction if you’d like to uncontrollably giggle to yourself in public. Reddit also provides a gateway to every interesting nook and cranny on the internet, most notably including science and medical journals; on that note, if anyone knows a doctor willing to prescribe me Adderall and Lithium treatments then email me their information, thanks. About people who mislead their humorous capabilities with reposts from Reddit, just know that you’re a huge disappointment in person.

For business and entrepreneurial news, the Harvard Business Review is an underappreciated gold mine. Special shout out to my good friend and industry consultant, Michael del Castillo of Upstart Business Journal, for his genuine enthusiasm about startups, and thought provoking content. I hope to continue this article with a nightly list of links I find worthy of sharing. Feel free to suggest any publications I may have missed. Best wishes and good reading everyone!

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The Great Gatsby Review

I have never consciously read a book and purposely watched the theatrical adaptation; my prerogative has been the exact opposite, whereby I actively avoid doing the two. I read Malcolm X and never saw the Denzel Washington performance, that I’m assured was robbed of an Oscar. I still rate Fight Club as the greatest movie I have personally ever seen, and I will never read the book; although, once I learned of the author, I have since read eight other Chuck Palahniuk novels. My first exposure to this phenomenon was Michael Crichton with the Jurassic Park series. I saw the original movie first, for which I was so thankful for Steven Spielberg. Then I read the follow up, The Lost World, before despising Steven Spielberg during the film release. So, if I think the story is worth its salt, then I read it; otherwise, I watch what I can of The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potters, and Hunger Games of the world before saving my sensibilities.

I was originally sold on the Great Gatsby movie, because having assumed the Tom Hanks mantle without a word of praise, Leonardo DiCaprio is the most underrated actor of my generation. I must be one of the few American educated adults who wasn’t forced to read F. Scott Fitzgerald in grade school, except I knew of his reputation and decided the book should take precedence. Let me begin by saying, F. Scott’s wordplay is brilliant, as is the first half of The Great Gatsby. The characters are introduced, and their nature is well defined with background. We follow a young man, Nick Carraway, from the Midwest exposed to the surreal Eastern seaboard of riches, particularly where the legend of Jay Gatsby is in full bloom. Every character expresses a different recollection of Gatsby: is he a bootlegger? Did he kill a man? How illustrious can one soldier’s career have been? Where the grandiose questions are endless, everyone is interested in discussing him, while no one is interested in knowing him.

Without spoilers, once the Gatsby veil is lifted, we’re treated to a barely above average story. The momentum simply doesn’t carry through, and dully grasps at action sequences to distract you from waiting for the story to end. If those same action sequences are filmed right, the Great Gatsby movie has a rare opportunity to be better than a good book; and that’s exactly what the Great Gatsby is, a good book. Final rating: Bueno.

Brave New World

While I try to read a novel per month, the start to this year kept me in front of illuminated screens more often than my weary eyes appreciated. Having read Brave New World and The Great Gatsby so far in 2013, two more books this month and I’ll be caught up! Another bit of news that crossed by literary and technologist worlds: Amazon recently bought Good Reads. Barnes and Noble really dropped the ball on this one, their Nook is more of a play-thing than competitor to the Kindle; and relinquishing the future IMDB of books to Amazon may have been the final nail to their coffin. Remember Borders? Finally, let’s venture into a Brave New World.

Aldous Huxley wrote Brave New World with a Dystopian premise, contrary to George Orwell’s 1984 classic, because no one is paranoid or suspicious; and for good reason, there’s nothing to be paranoid or suspicious of. The setting isn’t Soylent Green, or a shady communist regime ruling with an iron fist. There isn’t any conflict by scientific design in this future. The citizens are brainwashed from birth to accept death, regulated drugs, promiscuous sex, and the absence of solitude in favor of socializing. Looking around today, it really isn’t different from the constant bombardment of broadcast influence we currently sustain; and if you somehow survive this desensitizing upbringing, then you’re free to leave with like minded individuals. Every citizen is a genetically modified test tube baby, which renders traditional birth and family structures extinct. Although there is a social caste system, work and play opportunities efficiently distract from transcendental thoughts. What’s yours is basically mine, unless I don’t want it.

The story specifically follows the actions and consequences of a man born to the highest social class; albeit, with less desirable characteristics, like his short height and obtuse facial features, which render him similar to a lesser social class. We’re treated to the rebellious thoughts of his genius, yet feeble mind, which are expressed and noticed by others around him, like outbursts of Napolean Syndrome. Attempts to make up for his shortcomings ultimately lead to encounters with people from the uncivilized world, where people do crude things, like work on farms, worship gods, and read Shakespeare; thereby introducing conflict to the monotony, which becomes monotonous in itself.

And oh the monotony! Woe is the reader if inventory lists and tallies don’t fancy them. I, for one, did not really need to know how much of everything presides in every scene; this tactic came across as filling filler. In theory, the daily repetition of easily productive work, sex, and drugs make for a great life; however, the book wears you down by constantly transcribing the equipment necessary to accomplish such a feat. I admittedly skipped a few paragraphs of fictional material accounting; then the conflict becomes the monotony, and seasons of Maury come to mind. Mustaph Mond, a character introduced in the final chapters, saves Brave New World by delivering the insight we bravely read towards. Through a series of question and answers, and speeches, he sums up the state of affairs, how it came to be so, and why it must remain this way; which I just so happen to agree with. Final rating: Bueno. The Great Gatsby is next!