Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Live Book Blogging

Today’s Book: The Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman

I’m a big fan of the concept of live blogging. No, I’m lying. I think it’s self-indulgent and it indicates that the blogger has a much bigger sense of self than is usually warranted. Also, sometimes it’s better to sit and think about things. That’s what I learned, every time I did something stupid when I was a kid. Binky, go in your room and think about what you’ve done. Usually I came to the conclusion that I didn’t go far enough, and perhaps if I had thought things out beforehand I wouldn’t be sitting in my room thinking about things. I’d be at the hospital or the police station thinking about things.

That said, I have decided to join the world of live bloggers. Not because I think what I have to say “on the fly” is that interesting, but it’s just easier than having to consider my essay and structure it and so on. That’s such a lot of work! I’ve already live-blogged Puppy-Bowl II, but actually, that was a lie. I wasn’t really live-blogging. I was tivo-blogging. So, I guess that makes me a real journalist now!

My first live blogging experiment will be John Hodgman’s The Areas of My Expertise. Of course, this led me into a sticky corner—how to live-blog a book? I suppose I could bring a tape recorder with me when I read on the subway, and record my thoughts as I read, but I don’t have enough hands. Also, then I’d join the ranks of crazy people who talking into tape recorders about books on the subway.

So my solution was to simulate live-blogging, by trying to remember what I thought while I was reading on the subway, and also listening to Chris Weingarten’s best of 2005 mixtape CD. I know that’s kind of an oxymoron—there was no “best of” in 2005! And the CD bears that out beautifully.

At the beginning of the book, Mr. Hodgman invites the reader to write if he/she finds any actual facts that have accidentally gotten into the book. Unfortunately, there are too many facts, so I have decided to keep a list of the errors to those facts, most of which I think were entirely unintentional.

1. Mr. Hodgman, your name is misspelled. It should be Hodgeman. That’s on the cover. Oh, did I tell you we’re going in sequential order by age? We are.

2. How is it that my edition is the 4th printing? Really?

3. This book is paginated in the European fashion. That’s a bug, I believe, and not a feature.

4. I was not reading your Good Evening chapter in the evening, nor did I have a window to gaze out of. Now I feel as cheated as when I found out that the vinyl version of De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising was missing a song that was listed on the jacket. I’ve forgotten which song, but it was the best one.

Page 34: my cats say that illustration is photoshopped.

Page 36: The zipcode for the fake PO Box is incorrect. It should be 10116.

7. Damn, this song by The Streets f. Kano, Donae’o, Lady Sovereign and Tinchy Stryder sucks. Also, why did it take so many of them to make such a terrible song?

8. Lady, make your kid sit still. Also, next time? Go a little lighter on the parfum.

Table. 9: You cannot be a lawful neutral Paladin. You have to be lawful good.

OK. More to be added.

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