January 13, 2004

Heading Out

Tomorrow morning, I'll be getting on a plane for Chicago, then after a sucky long layover (I may just have to check out the Art Institute of Chicago and some kick-ass deep-dish pizza), I'll be getting on a plane for London.

I'll see you guys in a month, hopefully with plenty of stories and photos :)

Try to keep things under control while I'm gone, eh?

In General

Posted at 11:00 PM | Permanent link

January 12, 2004

The Red Queen

Yesterday I finished reading The Red Queen by Matt Ridley and I have to say that this is one of the most insightful books that I've read in a long time. As the book's subtitle states, it candidly discusses sex and the evolution of human nature.

I've been looking for a book that addresses this topic for a long time, and although others (most notably Carl Sagan's Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors) have done so somewhat indirectly by pointing out man's relation to other species of animals, this is the first book to focus squarely on how sexual reproduction and natural selection have shaped the physical and instinctual drives common to all human beings.

Under natural selection, species are shaped by their ability to reproduce and leave descendents. Organisms that are better able to reproduce will survive, while those that are worse will die out. Human beings are obviously a product of natural selection, so it naturally follows that any and all adaptations that we have accumulated over the past few million years have the ultimate goal of making us better at making babies. This line of reasoning has been obvious to me for quite some time, and yet Ridley is the first to tackle it in a popular medium, with this book.

Ridley examines what he defines to be Human Nature in this context, and his findings, though not all conclusive, are incredibly fascinating. He tackles topics ranging from why sex evolved at all, to why we have two genders, to why guys are attracted to pretty faces and large breasts while girls are more attracted to BMWs and Rolexes, to human beings' drive toward polygamy, monogamy, adultery, and our resulting social structures, and even to why we have evolved high intelligence (including art, and music) at all.

The book also clearly corroborates Ladder Theory as well :). I highly recommend you pick it up.

In General

Posted at 03:28 PM | Permanent link

January 11, 2004

The Jar Quote

"Women are superior to men in every way...except for opening jars."

-Matt McCurry

In Matters that are otherwise worthwhile

Posted at 10:31 PM | Permanent link

January 08, 2004

Harry Potter No. 3

Before heading to Pittsburgh for New Years, I made a quick stop at the local library to pick up an audio CD of the third Harry Potter, The Prisoner of Azkaban, so I could listen to it on the road.

I finished the book yesterday, and all I have to say is that J.K. Rowling kicks some serious ass.

This book is by far my favorite of the three in the series that I've read so far. The other two were good, but with this one I think that Rowling really starts to show her talent as a writer. Her foreshadowing is excellent, introducing seemingly trivial things early on as the story progresses that slowly build up and later end up playing key roles to the plot. She takes one situation, introduces it one way, and then by the end of the book she manages to paint it in a completely different light. And she does so very convincingly, without any plot holes!

The overarching story sees a lot of development here, tying a lot of things together. By the end of the book, she ties up all the important loose ends while still managing to leave some tempting crumbs to lead into the next story.

Overall, I was very impressed. Highly recommended if you haven't gotten around to reading this already.

In General

Posted at 10:48 AM | Permanent link

January 07, 2004

The Family


In Matters that are otherwise worthwhile

Posted at 01:24 AM | Permanent link

January 04, 2004

London Tickets Bought

I finally took the key step and bought my plane tickets for Europe today.

I'll be leaving Cleveland in the morning on January 14th and arriving in London *very* early the next day. I'll be staying for a month and returning to the US on Feburary 11th.

I'm feeling really excited now that I am officially totally committed to going! I've hardly been able to relax since I finished hitting that purchase button.

This gives me barely a week and a half to plan the details of my trip. Right now, I think that I've narrowed down the countries that I'm going to visit to: Britain, France, Switzerland, The Netherlands, and Ireland. Unfortunately this leaves out Italy and Spain, two places that I would *really* like to visit, but the way I see it, of the four *big* countries on my list (Britain, France, Italy, and Spain), it is better to pick two to concentrate on and really enjoy, rather than spread myself thin trying to see them all without really appreciating any one. For this trip Britain and Fance are the two "gimmies." The other countries fit very well into the mix for a nice, well-rounded trip.

First I need to sleep, then tomorrow I need to hit the books.

Looks like I'll be seeing you soon, Xtina! :)

Posted at 11:57 PM | Permanent link

January 01, 2004

New Years Resolution

Get rejected by ten different girls in the same day.

Posted at 10:52 PM | Permanent link