Just returned from a long business trip. Two days in L.A.,
a day in NYC. An early early morning flight Tuesday, a
red-eye flight Wednesday night. Lots of late nights leading
up to the trip, pulling together Powerpoint presentations.
Stress levels were high heading into it. I don't think I could
be a salesperson for life. The constant travel wears me down,
and the constant emotional swings of trying to close deals
and then keeping your partners happy can make the
universe seem very arbitrary. All weekend, I was dreaming
about my presentations, dreaming about work.
But for the most part, things went well. A couple times today,
in cabs around NYC, I just passed out cold and woke up
completely disoriented and realized I was in NYC. I half
expected to hear Penelope Cruz whispering "Open your eyes."
I am over 12,000 words behind on my novel. That's the
one depressing thing about this month so far. I just didn't
have any time to write this past week. I tried to write
on the plane flight back and managed about 2,000
words before I zonked out. I've started to realize how much
of a marathon this will be. 50,000 words is a hell of a lot
I leave tomorrow for San Francisco for Polly's wedding. Then
next week I leave for Boston on Wednesday for Thanksgiving.
I'm back for a few days, then off to Kentucky for a few weeks
in the distribution centers for the holidays. Then back again
for perhaps a week or two before I zip off to Chicago. I
really dislike being in Airworld these days. That's a term coined
by Walter Kirn in his latest novel, Up in the Air. For
anyone who's had to travel much in their job, I highly encourage
the book. Kirn's protagonist, Ryan Bingham, is a consultant
who has a goal of accumulating one million frequent flier miles,
and along the way he doles out truths about what he terms
Airworld, the world of the constant flier. Funny stuff. I used
to enjoy being in airports in a strange way, the sense of
being on the move. Now, with all the security restrictions, I can't
stand it. It's even more of a necessary evil than ever.
Lots of people I've worked with for many years, the old-timers
at Amazon, are leaving. I missed a whole bunch of goodbye
happy hours and dinners today. And in the next few months
I know of a few more who will be moving on to new new
things. There are just a few left from when I started. I just
realized that by next March, only one person, our CEO, will
be left from the group that interviewed me for my job.
That, with all the time I'll be spending away from Seattle the
next few weeks, leaves me with the feeling I might just
float away. The key to stabilizing my mind, at least, is
isolating the next big thing for me. Without that, it will
be hard to shake this feeling I have--nostalgia? Wistfulness?
I feel like I'm passing through this town. Maybe it will
I did manage to finish the first Harry Potter book at JFK
airport this afternoon, waiting for my flight. Just in time
for the movie. Now that I've finished the book, I must
say that I still don't understand the whole craze. It's
a kids book and yet all these people older than I am are
planning massive outings to see the film. I didn't find it
particularly well-written (it uses all sorts of literary devices
that should only be tolerated by young readers) and
is no more creative or engrossing than any number of
books I read as a kid. Maybe I'm just being a big
sourpuss. I'm completely pumped if I'm Warner Bros.,
though, knowing I've got a massive movie franchise on
my hands. Serious cash cow.
Yeah, Bill James published a new Historical Baseball Abstract!
Some of the most treasured books from my childhood are earlier
versions of this book. An essential book for baseball buffs, but
even more so he is one of the few journalists out there that
has the type of counter-culture or counter-establishment
viewpoint that distinguishes all the journalists I find interesting.
Kinda like Noam Chomsky. Anyway, Bill James is probably
the most influential figure in baseball journalism in the past
10 years or so, even though his disciples are just now starting
to peek in on the periphery of baseball journalism. If you
love mathematics and baseball, get yourself a copy.
Meredith finished the Ironman in Florida. Man oh man. What
Britney is everywhere, and these days she is all about her
cleavage. She is in the last five minute of her fifteen, and she
had better milk it for all it's worth.