Blog Life

That was The Week that was

Sunday, April 23, 2006

the week cover

I’m the father of a 10-month old charmer, and I divide my time between running a business and looking after her, and time is unsurprisingly at a premium for me. So it’s not a shock that it’s time off that suffers – time to read the papers or hang out with a good book, or a good TV show.

The DVR has helped in this, making sure when we slump down on the couch for an hour, there’s always something we want to watch available. My trusty RSS reader gives me the internet-based lowdown from many a site, but there’s a new kid in town that’s also more than pulling its weight – ’The Week‘.

Rather like The Editor section in the UK Guardian (don’t know if they still have it since they went all Berliner), it pulls together the best of the US and international media in one slim and scan-ready publication.

You get analysis, book and movie reviews, some weird stories and one full-length feature, and you can feel like you’re keeping on top of things, including some interesting stories from foreign news sources you wouldn’t be reading unless you were being paid by the Pentagon or MI6.

Of course there’s the danger that this is a type of continuous partial attention, where you mistake being mildly informed for actually knowing what’s going on (as Neal Stephenson remarked, quoting Donald Knuth, he’s not about keeping on top of things, he’s about getting to the bottom of things), but to my mind, a little breadth is a good thing, so long as it’s accompanied by some real rigour.

And if you’re looking for well-chosen breadth and you’re on a time budget, The Week fits the bill nicely.

Posted by David in • Life

Blog Santa Fe and New Mexico

Real estate frenzy at 7500 feet

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

As you may know, there are now plenty of big budget Hollywood films being made in the state, as New Mexico pursues a ‘tax-break and other forms of bribery’ approach similar to the way Ireland wooed the studios in the 90s.

Jessica Simpson was in town for a while, as were Adam Sandler and Chris Rock, and the celebs keep coming. And they need places to stay while there here.

Santa Fe is better suited than other places its size for this kind of thing, being a resort town with plenty of lavish second homes and short-term rental properties, but even so it’s not easy to find, say, a five-bedroom house with a swimming pool and super-high end finishes – as one incoming star wanted (or else he wasn’t coming). At least not in a big hurry.

But the money the star was spending – tens of thousands of dollars a month – sent every realtor in town rushing for their Rolodexes faster than you could say “10 percent commission”.

In the end the star apparently settled for a four-bedroom pad (with pool) – I’m pretty sure there are maybe no more than a dozen swimming pools in the whole town (this is a desert, after all), so that might have something to do with it.

But for every big name there’s at least 50 other real people who just need real places to crash for four months. Maybe we should go and live in a tent and let the house for a while.

Posted by David in • Santa Fe and New Mexico

Blog Life

Napping time

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

not a bad ideaBeen under the weather the last few days, and now that my cold has been transferred to Buendia and Finn, none of us is getting a lot of sleep at night.

Fortunately, Finn’s only mildly affected, and Buendia’s getting better (with lots of medicinal green chile to help out), so it’s tiredness rather than contagion that’s the main issue for me. But I’ve come up with a great solution – the afternoon nap.

When Finn was first home, wise people told us to ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’, but that approach has gone by the wayside, as we use Finn’s naps to try and impose some order on the house, or catch up on some deadline-looming work.

But a couple of times in the last few days, I’ve headed to the couch when Finn goes down, and it’s been great. I have no trouble getting off to sleep, and wake a little perkier.

When I was working in my first job, I’d get home from Maidenhead dazed and confused after nine hours plus spent writing about sewage treatment plants or inward investment, and quite often I’d crash out for 45 minutes before starting on the second part of my day, cleansed and distanced from the earlier toil.

An old habit I’ve been glad to revive – might even sneak the old cat (or dog) nap when I’m fully recovered.

Posted by David in • Life