Exhibit 16.23

Possible Reasons Why Someone Is Selling a Used Copy of My Untimely Death for $53.91 Plus Shipping at Amazon.com

1. It's a rare copy with the following inscription: To Mom, I love you. Thank you for pushing me to follow my dreams. Please don't sell this to a used book store in Jacksonville. Your son, Adam.

2. I'm going to die very soon. Possibly at the hands of the book's owner who, even as smoke is still rising from the barrel, will have gotten his outrageous price. His to-do list will then look like this:

  • Artificially inflate market for unknown writer to reap fame and profit
  • Murder someone
  • Spend profits on digital television converter box
And he will feel very glad he got to cross off two things at once as he drives toward the Best Buy.

3. They haven't read it.

4. This is the first step in what will soon be a chapbook-based economy. In 2064, everyone will be telling their grandchildren about how they used to be able to get a new car for four Cohens, two Svalinas, one McCrae, half a Schomburg, and 1,800 Ware/Chavez/May/Gannon/Perrys and how they'd put their change in the Give-A-Peterson-Take-A-Peterson bookshelf.

So invest. The chapbook-heavy portfolio will always pay off for the literate investor.

5. The bookmark inside is The Fantastic Four Annual Number 2 from 1964.


Exhibit 16.22

What It's Like to Get an Email from Me

Perhaps because I want to use my new email tag again or maybe just to warn off anyone thinking of emailing me after yesterday's post, but I figured I'd give you a window into what it's like to get an email from me. It's probably exactly like you imagine. Let's say your email is something like this:

  • To: Me
  • From: You
  • Subject: Hello
  • Hey Adam I drove through Lincoln yesterday and thought of you. Sorry I couldn't stop. Let me know how things are going.
  • Later,
  • You
That's a pretty standard email. Here's how I would respond:

  • To: You
  • From: Me
  • Subject: Well...
  • The thing is, hmm, well, I don't really know what to say, I suppose I could go either way, but, O, wait, what about maybe, no, no, I don't think that will work at all.
  • [sigh]
  • Okay, I know--hold on a second--do you remember when (and I mean the first time here not the second time [although I guess that time sort of works too]), um, maybe that isn't a good example but, that said, we should probably just forget about everything.
  • It's just that, I don't know, maybe it is okay. Fine. Yes, that's actually great. Whatever you decide works for me, etc.
  • So good. We're good. Perfect. I feel good. How do you feel? I imagine good. Or something.
  • Whatever happened with that disease you had? You're driving through Nebraska, so I guess things didn't go as bad as everyone thought they might, right?
  • A.
I'm just trying to prepare you for disappointment. You know that, right? Etc.


Exhibit 16.21

So I mentioned before that Hotmail changed their design again which, I suppose, would have been fine if this new design hadn't put me through tests to prove that I really, really wanted to email my friends, coworkers, and talk radio hosts my thoughts on the latest iteration of the bank bailout and Kate Winslet's Oscar dress.

Of course I want to email those people. I find the hesitancy to move toward nationalization understandable but short-sighted and her dress to have been...um, green, I think.

So it's time to change. From now on you can reach me at the email address to the right (or, if it's easier, 'adamwpeterson [at] gmail [dot] com'). I've had it for years, but I only used it for document backup. I think I once had vague privacy concerns about gmail, but, as with so many things, I no longer care. At this point I'm actually hoping advertisers look into my information. Maybe that will finally prompt them to release the 1992 Hector Elizondo vehicle There Goes the Neighborhood on Blu-ray. Certainly the letters I was sending weren't doing the trick.

It occurs to me that some of you don't even have my "real" email address as I've been too embarrassed to give it out for the last few years. You should be glad. It would only make you feel sorry for me. I won't repeat it here, but let's just say it was named when:

A) I was 15
B) My friends and I were into a certain pirate video game
C) Someone had already claimed the correct spelling of the word I wanted
D) Misspelling things for video game purposes was cool

If you're thinking my old email address was "pyrat@hotmail.com," you're wrong. Sadly, you're not that wrong.

It was actually an account I started right when we moved from Nebraska to Kansas so I could keep up with friends (before that we all used a local message board/network thing called Freenet). Here's my oldest email, from August 1998, from my friend Chris:

come to my party on the 22 of this month alright. i'll ceck and see if I can come down this weekend and check out the house

Sadly, Chris still can't spell 'check' right in consecutive uses. It's actually a very common problem. Our best doctors are working on it.

From a month later, here's my friend Ryan saying bad things about Chris:
I think I"m a pimp, and you think I'm a pimp and so does everyone else. he he he. Anywho, yeah chris drives the taurus around. He actually looks kind of dumb driving it. It just looks stupid.

Ryan now teaches history. He married his high school sweetheart. When his wife is out of town he wants to come over and play old Sega games with me and drink vodka in orange soda. The last time we played tennis both of us were a lot better than we'd ever been before and couldn't figure out why. The last time we talked Ryan and I explained our 401k options to each other.

Here's how Nicholas Sparks would end this post:
I held onto that old email address as if I could hold onto the past from before my friends scattered across the country, before the distance between us became more permanent. It is a distance that appears easily conquered--there are no parents to ask for permission, flights leave every hour--yet it is a distance we can never fully close again. We might visit but only visit. We might again find ourselves driving family sedans toward each other, cars no longer handed down from parents but could, in time, be handed down to our own children. We might forget each other's addresses once the old ones are gone. I do hope Missy comes out of her coma so that I might tell her how much I love her and ask her forgiveness for the death of her father.

Okay, so I've never read any Nicholas Sparks. I assume I'm in the ballpark.


Exhibit 16.20

Arkansas Recap

* No one asked me what kind of Coke I wanted. I was sad about this until they handed me plates full of fried chicken and green beans. Turns out they knew exactly what kind of Coke I wanted.

* Tyrone's students were fantastic. I've never seen such an enthusiastic writing community among undergraduates, and all of the work I heard was great, too. Ty has a good thing going there. In particular, I enjoyed talking with Robin, Adam, Rae, Sarah, Zora, Heather, and I'm sure several others whose names are slipping my mind. I got to hear a remarkably earnest conversation about Foucault. I wanted to hug all of the participants. I wanted to believe in something again.

* I was in the Memphis airport three times in one trip. How you ask? Well, it doesn't really matter but here's a hint: it ended with a 2.5-hour bus ride through eastern Arkansas at night, a trip I was actually fairly happy to take, in the end, as I enjoyed finishing the book I was reading. I'll talk about that sometime, maybe. I think I'm going to review the book, and I've actually already started (if by "started a review" I mean "began a self-involved collage essay." I might mean that. We'll see).

* Tyrone and Julee live in what was once a concrete factory. It is exactly as cool as it sounds.

* Lake Conway was scary and awesome and full of debate over the quality of Mitch's girlfriend.

* At the student reading we went to on Thursday night, they had a contest to give away some very impressive-looking cupcakes and I got to serve as guest judge. Basically, a description of a very pathetic character was read aloud--the man liked to hang out in bathrooms, as I recall--and the best name got to take home the cupcakes. I turned to Tyrone while everyone was writing their answers and whispered that I hoped someone submitted my name.

* Someone submitted my name. This made me very happy personally yet very sad for the girl who has to share my instincts. I never actually met the person (I don't think) but I imagine her also thinking it's a good idea to try to learn Japanese and to buy a new coat only once every eight years. I should warn her.

* Tyrone summed up my reading shtick so pointedly that I wanted to hate him, but he was just too right. He said I acted like a North Platte Woody Allen behind the podium. I still want to hate him for it, but instead I'm just going to focus on being a North Platte Kenneth Branagh at future readings.

* A lot of good people were also kind enough to let me enjoy their birthday/dance/sushi party on Friday night and not act at all creeped out when I sat down and started to read this book from their library while Beyonce played loudly in the background. I didn't want to do this, understand, but it really was fascinating. I was on page 17--right where Fukuzawa is describing how he used to help his mother crush a beggar's gnats with a rock--when I re-entered society to the sounds of Katy Perry, just as my man Yukichi would have wanted it.

* Tyrone pointed at where they...

* Thanks to T & J for hosting me and all of the students at Hendrix. I had a great time.


Exhibit 16.19

Dear Octopus Books:

I have a problem. I wore my Octopus Books t-shirt and people kept asking me if I was wearing a t-shirt with my own picture on it. This wasn't the problem. The problem was that I kept saying, "Yes, I am wearing a t-shirt with my own picture on it. Hi, I'm Todd Octopus."

I don't even see the resemblance.

Todd Octopus


Jürgen Prochnow

Thank you for your time,



Exhibit 16.18

It's like I'm in some horrible future where it's too late to stop myself from doing this. Last one, I swear.

I'm back today. By which I mean I haven't left yet.

Exhibit - GRE Literature Test study material

Exhibit 5.22 - That time my fortune cookie talked me out of learning Chinese.

Exhibit 10.12 - Okay, so this one actually isn't so old but it's one of the better photo ones and it hits on a relevant topic for me: hotmail has changed their interface for approximately the one millionth time in the last year. I might have to finally switch to the gmail account I've had for years and never use. It's going to be hard to give up the embarrassing email address I've had since 1998, but this new format is killing me. And there aren't any dogs with headsets anymore. It's like they forgot what they were all about.


Exhibit 16.17

This is so self-congratulatory that I really should stop. In any case, I'm glad we all agreed that we're never going to talk about that time I linked to my own blog over and over.

Exhibit 5.9 - Madison!

Exhibit 3.1 - This is what I was thinking about football in September of 2007. You definitely don't need to read this, but it does sum up my feelings on Randy Moss here: He's like Superman only if Superman had a lingering hamstring problem and sometimes said things like, "I don't need to save everyone. I just have to save people when it counts." Yep.

Exhibit 6.5 - Here's the story of the time junky mouse sacrificers moved into the apartment.

Exhibit 5.4 - The first hint that something was wrong with the Petersons. Note: this was before that guy named Adam Peterson killed someone.


Exhibit 16.16

So, because I need to kill time before my flight leaves, I've decided to schedule some posts for while I'm gone. I think I'll just link to a few older posts that, if you like, you can read in lieu of whatever it is I normally do here. These were all posts from back when four people read this blog which could be anywhere from when it started to yesterday.

(Oh, and I'd like to say hello to our new fifth reader. Hi, Mom. Thanks for reading.)

By the way, I'm doing this despite not having packed, checked into my flight, or printed out what I'm reading. So now you know where my priorities are. They're with you, dear reader. All five of you. I look forward to seeing you at the next Thanksgiving.


Exhibit 4.7 - Proof that even the worst literary writing is better than the best business writing. Also, not-interesting is the fact that I avoided using the title of the guy's book because I was afraid he'd google it, find me, and have a friend step on my throat.

Exhibit 2.8 - One of my favorite posts which was ruined by someone coming to their senses before I even posted. Basically, Reuters showed that file photo on an article about couples having children.

Exhibit 2.7 - Huh, this one before it isn't bad either. Remember when every conversation was about Larry Craig and the Ninja Turtles? I do. So does Dave. Nobody else seemed interested. Also notable for featuring Dave spelling out his thoughts on the definition of gay.

Exhibit 1.11 - Here's that time I said bad things about Julia Stiles and felt awful about it for a month. I really wanted to bring that feeling back (and use my Julia Stiles tag which has been dormant ever since, I believe). It's odd, I can't remember going to see very many movies, but I very distinctly remember going to see that Bourne. As I recall, much fun was had at the bar afterward.


Exhibit 16.15

I'll be in Conway, Arkansas, until Saturday and couldn't be more excited about it. And I love that poster, but I can think of at least three things wrong with it:

"story collection?"

Maybe that oblique Simpsons reference isn't an appropriate one to make when going to visit undergraduates. Maybe it's exactly appropriate. Well, we'll find out, won't we?

I don't think I know any Arkansas folks who aren't the lovely people hosting me, but, if I'm wrong, stop by and say hello. I'll be the disappointed guy whose waiter didn't ask him what kind of Coke he wanted.

I've been promised this happens in the South since I was little. This is finally my chance to see it in person. I don't care if Tyrone has to drive me to Georgia, I'm going to get asked what kind of Coke I want.

Oddly, despite having thought about this phenomenon--almost non-stop--since I was 6 or so, I've never actually figured out what I would say to this question.


If I say Christmas and they bring out a can with Santa on it, I'm never leaving.

Well, I'd say this post has gone on about 100 words too long. I'll leave quietly now.

Exhibit 16.14

Ever since my car battery was disconnected a week or so ago my "anti-theft" factory stereo has been silent until I could track down the code which would again grant me access to my Oasis CDs.

I'm joking about some of that. Guess which part?

Let's hope you were right.

So on the drive back from Kansas City, on the way to work, on the way home from work, on the way to the monster truck races, etc. I've had nothing but silence and, occasionally, the thrill of having seen a car eat another car.

I'm joking about...oh, to hell with it.

Let me see if I can replicate the drive back from Kansas City for you:

Kansas: [amber waves of grain]
Missouri: [complicated Civil War legacy]
Iowa: [Burger King]
Nebraska: [corn rustling/wrestling]

Anyway, this is just a preface to the real reason I'm posting.


Good, now we all know it. I'm going to be calling you next time this happens.

I realize this means you could steal my car stereo, put it in your car, and listen to my copy of Be Here Now. That's a risk I'm willing to take.

If you're so inclined, my car is going to be in a poorly lit section of the little-guarded long-term parking lot of the Omaha airport starting tonight. So, um, knock yourself out if you want to listen to "D'You Know What I Mean?"

You probably don't want to listen to "D'You Know What I Mean?"


Exhibit 16.13

On Editing a Novel #12

CREATING AN OUTLINE. It's likely you'd given up on your novel until running into someone you'd given a draft to 18 months ago at a party. It's even more likely this person avoided eye contact with you until you were finally able to corner her as she reached for her coat. What is certain is that this person told you your novel lacks structure (and adjectives, but we can't help you there). Even if she got a few key details wrong while describing your novel back to you--or is your novel about an ambitious lawyer who finds his values being tested? you don't think so, but it might be--your friend is still right.

You need an outline.

(Your friend is not right about giving up on novels and focusing more on your assistant manager job at Zales. Once your novel is published, you should skip ahead to #64 QUITTING YOUR JOB AT ZALES AND TAUNTING OLD FRIENDS).

But formatting outlines is hard so it's best you don't try to create one from scratch. Just pick up whatever you have in list or bulleted form and use that. Even published novelists do this. For example, The Great Gatsby was originally a grocery list for eggs, Daisy Brand Sour Cream, carraway seeds, and Hires Root Beer (the novel's original title).

Any outline will do. If you want a science fiction thriller, choose an outline from an old introduction to biology term paper just like a certain writer whose name rhymes with Michael Crichton does. If you want a love story, that inventory list from your job at Zales will work perfectly. If you want to pursue that lawyer angle, just use the list of charges on that court summons in your pocket. If you want your novel to win the Pulitzer, use a list of John Updike's published novels.


The Poorhouse Fair -> See, you've already got a setting. Two of them, really
Rabbit, Run -> Now you know there is a rabbit at the fair
The Centaur -> Um, well, you know, he's probably friends with the rabbit

And so on. The important part is the final step.



Exhibit 16.12

AWP Recap

I'm too tired to do an AWP Recap, really, but as I've been making awful decisions since the Midway Dunkin' Donuts on Wednesday, it's clear that I'm not going to be able to stop myself from doing anything until tomorrow at the earliest. Now is definitely the time to ask me to loan you money or collaborate on a series of villanelles. One way or the other, you will leave the conversation with a handful of cash and tercets. At this point, I'm nothing but a series of impulses and refrains and apologies.

What I Came Home With

* The new Black Warrior Review (which is incredible from front to back and has a great DIY feature section)

* The last two Keyhole magazines (including the awesome handwritten one)

* Some Hobart (which I definitely should already be subscribing to)

* A Saltgrass (you should send them your best fiction right now)

* Only 10-15 total Cupboards (everyone was very nice and generous - thank you)

* A desire to pony up the $250 for The Jungle from Rope-A-Dope (words can't describe)

* Shane Jones's Light Boxes (which might be what I read first)

* Bryan Coffelt's In a City with Neighbors and the first Barnaby Jones both from Pinch Pinch Press (one of these is Dave's and both were to make up for our absent HTML Giant Secret Santas from someone who totally didn't have to - thank you again)

* El Greed by David Nesmith from Publishing Genius (which made me laugh a lot on the first page I read yet also fearful I might go to monkey heaven)

* Less Shiny by Mary Miller from Magic Helicopter Press (which has a great cover and is presumably as good inside)

* One Neither One by Shane McCrae from Octopus (something I read at the table and loved so much I had to buy it. That Shane came around and was a great guy only made it easier)

* A t-shirt from Octopus (we all agreed I get to be the only person in Lincoln who wears one, right?)

* That's all from one bag I unpacked with one left to go and there was a lot more I left behind for space reasons but intend to pick up online in the next week. Look for me to fawn all over this work as I read through it.

Information You Need

* Rope-A-Dope Press makes beautiful things and you need to submit to their chapbook series by the end of March. Perhaps we could go in on a series of villanelles?

* You should be aware that everything I know about villanelles I learned in the last ten minutes. Tercets? Tercets.

* Octopus Books is reading full-length poetry manuscripts in April. They are such a great press that I'm considering writing my name on the copy of The Dream Songs I borrowed from Mathias last year and submitting that.

* The Cupboard is going to officially stop reading submissions on March 1st. (Although if you're reading this, you can [and should] submit whenever).

* Everything I just wrote I said hundred and hundreds of times this week. It might not be until March that I am able to say anything else.

Uninteresting Personal Revelations

* I no longer trust myself to do anything, especially order correctly when faced with sprinkles and an employee's disinterested upselling. Somehow the more half-hearted the offer is, the more likely I am to add a second donut for a nominal fee. I like knowing this about me.

* I'm trying to remember what it is I do in Lincoln. I think I got back last night and stared at my apartment for twenty minutes before drinking some coffee. That seems about right.

* Between the first AWP post and the Mac post, this blog has become distressingly confessional in the last week or so and I look forward to quitting it soon. But I won't. But I may post less. Or more. I feel like I'm not posting exactly the right amount or precisely the right stuff. In any case, I'm probably going to remove myself from it a bit which is good as I don't feel like how I portray myself on this blog is particularly representative. And if it is, you definitely shouldn't tell me that I'm this neurotic, desperate, and navel-gazing. I hope I'm one, maybe two, of those things at most.

* I realize everything about what I'm typing right now contradicts that last paragraph. I know it's tedious when I complain about the blog. But know that I'm sincere in my desire to never write or say the word blog again.


* If I met you this week I had a great time and liked you a lot. There were a lot of people I was really excited to meet and without exception everyone was friendly and smart and funny. I was just happy to be there and tried to keep up. I now want to collaborate with you. Did I mention our collaboration is going to be about vampires? It is.

* I also want to collaborate with all of the old friends I ran into, but they know better.

* I'm leaving to visit Tyrone's college in Arkansas on Wednesday. If what happened to me in Chicago is any indication, I will not sleep, my face will continue to go all guy-who-chose-the-wrong-cup-in-that-Indiana-Jones-movie, and my new found fondness for late night text messaging will continue to wake you up with ring tones and inanity. So, good?

* Yes, very good. I'm excited for the trip. I'm going to read two things from the old anonymous Cupboards that never get to see the daylight.

So I think that covers it. Thank you to everyone who gave me things or who took things I was giving them. You were polite not to say no.

Any questions?


Exhibit 16.11




Exhibit 16.10

I'll be in Chicago from tomorrow morning until Sunday for a conference and reading fair that shares my initials, an odd move on my part as I have no clear association with a university and dislike 'fairs' that don't serve cotton candy. While I'm looking forward to seeing people I used to know, I really have no idea what goes on during this conference that requires my five-day presence. My guess: throat clearing.

I'll be there in service of The Cupboard which means Dave and I will be at table #368 with Octopus and Rope-a-Dope. You should stop by and say hello as long as you're not coming to kick me out for lying about student status and then admitting it (twice) online.

(Hold on, I have to check into my flight. I'm an A! This is going well.)

Should you stop by and say hello, I will likely say one of the following things to you:

* "No, sir, I do not care to wrestle." - if you're John Irving

* "I'm sorry I threw a stick at you." - if you're a girl named Megan who lived by my friend Ryan when I was 6 and who I once hit with a stick when I meant to hit someone else because there was a time in my youth, around age 6 I guess, when I thought it might be a good idea to throw a stick at someone standing near a girl named Megan who lived by my friend Ryan, but I haven't held on to the particulars, only the guilt

* "Who are you? Oh, I don't follow ice soccer." - if you're Calder Trophy winning Chicago Blackhawk Patrick Kane

* "I didn't think you could get any whiter. Zing, take that Updike's ghost!" - if you're Updike's ghost

* "Opposition to the stimulus package based on a wariness of increased government debt is an absurd position given the already massive deficits projections which, of course, will only get much worse should the economic downturn prove permanent. Balancing the budget may very well be a noble goal, but it's simply not a priority when faced with a potential world-wide depression, the collapse of the banking system, and two foreign wars. Even if balancing the budget were possible--it isn't--it would mean putting millions more out of work, sucking capital from a world desperately short on it, and choosing the worst time possible to haphazardly watch what happens when states, banks, and large corporations go bankrupt because of some poorly thought out political philosophy extrapolated from a desire to protect wealth many of its adherents do not actually have." - if you're unfortunate

* "Anyone want to get out of here and go see Coraline?" - if you're seeing me after the first hour

* "Stop rejecting me." - if you're the editor of Tin House or anyone I'm playing basketball against

* "Who wants to go to the Apple store?" - if you're catching me at a weak moment

* "I'm not sure about this sweater I'm wearing. It's seems maybe too thin for the temperature outside but I'm also thinking that since I'm going to be inside for most of the day in a large room with a lot of people milling about...yeah, this sweater is fine. Still, I don't know how I feel about it. What if there aren't a lot of people? I'm going to be there for like eight hours unless someone wants to go see Coraline so I should maybe wear something else. No, it's fine. It's fine. I just wish I had a way to check for Royals news. Oh, a McDonald's and they're still serving breakfast! [circus music]" - if you're listening to my internal monologue.

* "Yes, yes I would like another." - if you're going to the bar (or unexpectedly selling cotton candy at the fair)

* "That's a different Adam Peterson. I'm that one who murders people. Oh, even better, the guy in the orchid society. Yeah, that one. I'd like to be that one." - if you're mentioning this blog

I can't imagine I'll have cause to say anything else all week. Unless someone wants to talk about pitchers and catchers reporting. I'll have plenty to say about that.


Exhibit 16.9

So I want to get a new laptop. And by 'new' laptop I mean 'a' laptop. I've been using a desktop since I sold my first and only notebook computer after college because, in the days before WiFi, I never took it off my desk. I mean ever. Sam, my old college roommate, will vouch for this. I literally connected it to an external monitor and never moved it except for the times I spilled soda on it. This was a lot of times.

(Days before WiFi? After college? You may be asking yourself how old I am. Old. Way older than I have any right to be).

Now, the trouble is that I've always been a fairly loyal PC user. Not because I love PCs so much, I just sort of hate Macs. Now, hold on, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking Adam, I use a Mac. We've met each other. You know I use a Mac. Do you hate me?

If your name is Dave, the answer is sort of. Otherwise, no, I love you. Please don't be offended by anything I have said or will say. I know you're thinking this because everyone I know uses a Mac with the exception of two or three people who are, like me, irrationally committed in their opposition.

So naturally I'm now considering getting a Mac.

It all started when I realized that I believed my blind opposition to one company was somehow a noble and morally necessary struggle while other people's blind faith in the same company was crazy and dumb. This is also how I feel about my favorite band versus your favorite band. Oh, and religion. I think it's Apple's fault for forcing me into such dichotomies (it's certainly not mine). From their Mac Guy vs. PC Guy marketing campaign to their oh-so-very-careful-and-brilliant branding, they seem to be making decisions based on what will infuriate me.

I mean, I hate the Mac Guy and love the PC Guy. I don't want to be the Mac Guy. I want to be James Bond (who, as a fictional character, apparently endorses the Vaio I'm also considering). Now that's branding I can get behind. It's the same reason I own a Lotus Espirit that turns into a submarine.

I'm telling myself that I could buy a Mac, try it out, and sell it if I don't like it. Or I could buy one and then run Windows on it. Or I could buy one, get an iPhone which are also awesome, get Apple TV, put a sticker on my car, grow a goatee, hang out at the coffee shop, and live a happy life where I cede the troublesome business of having an identity to a company which is really good at picking music for their commercials.

See? See how hard it is to give up the fight? To realize there is no fight? No one I know who uses a Mac is that guy, they're all people who, among many other fine qualities, seem to be happy in their computer purchase. I'm the bad guy here.

The worst part is, every single person I know who has purchased a Mac loves it and will never go back. With anything else, this would convince me to give it a try, but then I got to Apple's website, look at their photos of Jack Johnson listeners, and get cold feet again.

Damn it. If the next time you see me I'm carrying a new Macbook, you have every right to hate me. Just know that you won't hate me more than I'll hate myself.



Exhibit 16.8

Royals Offseason Review

I was waiting to write about the Royals offseason until it was actually finished and...and...and...I suppose it finally is. Barring something unexpected, it seems like the current roster goes to Surprise for spring training and all of the redundancies and gaping holes work themselves out on the fly. Personally, I expected the team to look a bit more like the team that will take the field on opening day--or at least the team I hope will take the field on opening day--but the stagnant economy has led to an odd stasis in the free agent and trade markets as most teams seem to be paralyzed by the impossibility of trading their high priced players to free dollars for the increasingly cheap free agents. Most teams seem to be holding at least one or two contracts they'd gladly ship out if given half the chance, especially if it means $6 million for, say, Luis Castillo could become $6 million for Adam Dunn.

That nobody wants a $6 million dollar Luis Castillo, that Adam Dunn is going to wait until one of the big market teams gets desperate, that a lot of free agents require giving up draft picks to sign, that most owners have lost billions in the last 9 months...well, these are problems. And, as isn't particularly surprising, everyone's reaction is to sit on their hands, close their eyes, and wait it out.

But not our beloved Royals. You see, they have a renovated stadium financed largely by the good people of Kansas City and, more than that, an owner who just so happens to be the former long term CEO of a little company called Wal-Mart. Just yesterday Wal-Mart nearly doubled analysts' projected increase in sales. While most retail stores' profits are rapidly decreasing, Wal-Mart is doing better than ever. The reasons for this are as sad as they are obvious, but, in the far less important world of baseball, the economic downturn has meant only good things for the Royals.

Unfortunately, this unexpected leveling of the playing field has mostly meant that they alone have the right to overpay for the Kyle Farnsworths of the world. Oh well.

Let's take a look at what they've done with Mr. Glass's depressing windfall:

Traded RHP Leo Nunez for DH/1B Mike Jacobs
The offseason's first move continues to be perhaps the most confusing. The Royals have an abundance of 1B/DH types. Some of them are young and filled with promise (Butler, Ka'aihue), some of them are old and not very good (Gload, Shealy), all of them are still on the team as if this writing. Jacobs, a salary dump from the Marlins, is somewhere in between. He hits a lot of homeruns, he plays awful defense, and he doesn't get on base. Otherwise, he's great.

My thoughts on the move can pretty much be summed up as follows: If Jacobs mostly DHs and hits 30HR, I don't think most Royals fans will care how bad his on-base percentage is. I'm one of those fans. If Jacobs plays everyday at 1B and forces Butler to Omaha for most of the year and hits 30HR, I'm going to constantly be lamenting his OBP and awful defense. It'll end up somewhere in the middle.

Traded Ramon Ramirez for CF Coco Crisp
The Red Sox didn't have a starting spot for Crisp anymore and the Royals (for reasons that are only sort of clear) hate playing David DeJesus in center. I'm actually sympathetic to this line of thinking as I think DeJesus has proven to be more durable in LF. It was a little annoying when it meant Joey Gathright in CF with Teahen on the bench, but Crisp is a legitimate starter who has a chance to put up nice numbers at the plate while playing plus-plus defense. Ramirez is tough to give up, but, considering they essentially gave up nothing for him, turning nothing into one season of great relief pitching and two years of an above average (if overpaid) center fielder is a nice move.

There's definitely an argument to be made that Crisp shouldn't lead off, but there really aren't any better options in a lineup that, outside of Gordon, DeJesus, and Callaspo, has some kind of grudge against first base.

Signed RHP Kyle Farnsworth for 2 years/$9.5 million
Things we know about Kyle Farnsworth:
1) He's insane
2) He hasn't been good since 2005
3) Everyone hates him

Yep, I think this will work out great. It's a shame we couldn't lock this guy up for more years.

Signed UI Willie Bloomquist for 2 years/$3.1 million
I don't care as long as he gets less than 175 ABs and backs up every position except catcher. If he does anything else, I hate him. If he is the opening day 2B, I hate you. As long as you are the Royals' general manager. Are you?

I'm kidding. Sort of.

Extended RHP Zack Greinke for 4 years/$38 million

There were other moves, too, but that last move is really the big one and what makes the offseason a success. Nothing else the Royals have done since the Meche signing carries over to the 2011 season and, if they're being honest, that's when the team has its eye on seriously competing. Everything else is about putting a competitive team on the field, creating a winning culture through competition, and (I believe) stretching out the payroll so that it's there if the Royals want to make a big splash after Guillen, Farnsworth, Crisp, and Bloomquist all come off the books. Only Jacobs has a chance to still be around when this team is ready and even then he seems like trade bait since he plays the only position where the Royals show depth throughout their system.

Of course, people a lot smarter than me will tell you aiming for .500 is a bad way to build a team. That school of thought says that spending money on guys like Farnsworth and Bloomquist is a negative since it could go to Latin America or be saved for a time when competition is possible and not just a pipe dream. This line of thinking has never made much sense to me as nothing about such a criticism seems to account for how baseball payrolls actually work.

There are still plenty of issues. The Royals don't seem to want any of the second basemen they acquired to actually play second base. They have at least one too many starting pitchers and it remains to be seen if they'll make the right move in choosing the backup position players or if they'll get sentimental and march out Ross Gload again when they no longer need his "ability" to play the OF and they have better options.

Still, most teams are similarly stymied with ungainly rosters so the Royals aren't in bad shape. If nothing else, this team is looking better than last year's overachieving squad and .500 is a legitimate goal. Greinke's extension is the real key, however, and if he pitches to form the Royals look to be a team with great pitching, poor offense, and wildly uneven defense (great in the OF, bad in the IF).

They should be fun to watch, and not just on the days when Kyle Farnsworth decides to throw at batters.


Exhibit 16.7

In case you thought I was crazy when talking about the abandoned car on the top of my parking garage:

There it is in all of its loneliness.

In case you thought I got a new camera and wanted to show off, you're wrong.

In fact, Old-timey Brett has something to say about that:

"Consumer goods aren't going to make you happy, Adam. I reckon you need to find interests that fill your heart rather than empty your wallet. Yes sir, I do."

Hmm, I don't like Old-timey Brett.


Exhibit 16.6

The Match Array
Heather Green
dancing girl press, 2008
$7.00 (includes S&H)

I can assure you: it is a good idea to read this.

This one was originally in Octopus, but I don't think I can link to it. I'm going to borrow it.


No memory, no myths,
no myths,

few before the forest,
no fixed words for colors.

A red cup looks like blood.
Extract a red dye.

The first year tutored herself,
listening slightly.

The room could be locked.

The second year borrowed a boat
from the river soon before joining him,

the joy beaten to death.
That’s what you do for God.

Exhibit 16.5

There's a car in my parking garage that hasn't moved in over a month. I know it hasn't moved because the front driver's side tire is flat and always rotated at the same angle. It's not in a reserved space. It doesn't have a note on it. It's just there waiting on the top floor of the garage facing west, its flat tire pointing at the Cornhusker Hotel.

No one seems concerned about the car.

I am concerned about the car.

It's odd that someone abandoned a car in a parking garage when the only issue is a flat tire. It's a grey Ford Taurus, and my guess is that it's somewhere around a 2003. I didn't write down the class, but let's say it's the 4-door SE sedan without any extra options but a moon roof (I'm thinking the moon roof is why they parked on the top of the garage. They wanted the views. I'm also thinking they didn't want the CD player because the person probably didn't want to pay for all of their country music a second time [did I mention the car is from Texas? It's from Texas]). As for mileage, I'll assume it's somewhere around 60k. This might be conservative, but I know at least one month where the car has racked up exactly zero miles. I'll say the car is in fair condition due to its flat tire and weeks of neglect during winter.

That makes the Blue Book $3,510. Presumably the person would settle for a flat $3.5k if you bought them an extra value meal while negotiating the price down ten dollars. That seems like too much to abandon, right?

I guess I feel like one of those Kitty Genovese witnesses because I see this car and do nothing about it. Is my responsibility diffused because the woman who drives a white Volvo and the man who drives a blue Suburban also park next to it day after day? Surely if it's anyone's responsibility it's the Suburban guy.

It's actually a rather sad way to go into work. Some nice Texans parked their car in Lincoln, Nebraska, only to disappear forever. Now the car just waits like some loyal beagle in the snow.

Either we're missing some Texans or some Texans are missing a car. Whatever the situation, I'm missing some of whatever it takes to do something about the situation. How long would that car have to be there before I asked somebody?

My guess: four months. And even then I'd probably just mention it in feigned casualness to a co-worker on the elevator, trying hard to make it seem like I hadn't been thinking about it for four months.

Me: Hey, I just noticed that Taurus on the top floor of the garage hasn't moved in awhile.
Co-worker: Yeah, it's been there since November. I asked about it around Thanksgiving and found out it's some guy's from the life insurance company on the 8th floor. I guess he's in China for six months or something. No big deal.
Me: Oh.
Co-worker: So are you excited about everything happening on today, Wednesday, May 13th?

I'm less than good.


Exhibit 16.4

Candy Bar Review: Pearson's Limited Edition Chocolate Nut Roll

It's been nearly 18 months since my last candy bar review which, appropriately, was of the non-chocolate covered nut roll. Clearly I am not doing enough to keep my finger on the nougaty pulse of candy bars, but the truth is that ever since my co-worker's daughters completed their 3-year Israeli Army Camp fundraising project, I haven't really had easy access to an affordable basket of candy bars.

Also, I decided the best candy bar was Hershey's 5th Avenue. There really wasn't any point in feigning an interest in candy bar criticism after tasting the winner. It'd be like continuing to hold the spelling bee after the kid with glasses enters. Sometimes you have to move on.

(Incidentally, one of my best and worst moments of the last 18 months was the night I was watching the Food Network at 2 a.m. and an episode of Unwrapped came on that showed how they make 5th Avenue bars. I was so happy I think I actually clapped when I saw it. Then of course I desperately wanted a 5th Avenue and was sad. I think I ended up settling for a can of mysterious mandarin oranges someone left at my house washed down with a long conversation with myself about getting my life together.

It now occurs to me you might have a more fulfilling personal life than I do and so are unfamiliar with Unwrapped. Basically, it's a show that glorifies that chemicals and machinery that make our favorite "foods." It's totally awesome. My favorite part is that they do these talking head interviews with people credited only as "[product name] Expert" even though they clearly work for the company being talked about as they always are A) using "we" as a pronoun, B) wearing clothes with the companies logo, and C) a little too knowledgeable about how many Hot Tamales are made in an hour.

I'd like to think host [and Ironic OCD sufferer] Marc Summers demands this so as maintain the maximum amount of objectivity. Or maybe they have an ombudsman).

So you can imagine my excitement when I went down to the first floor vending machines for a soda and noticed the white package of the Pearson's Limited Edition Chocolate Nut Roll.

What is this? I said to a woman buying a diet Pepsi.

Who, me? she said.

This white nut roll in the vending machine, I said, pointing.

What? she said.

I've never seen one of those before, I said, still sort of pointing.

Do you work here? she said.

Look, lady, don't ruin this for me, I said, my pointing finger having now enlisted my thumb to make a shape like I gun which I then pointed at the lady who was ruining it for me.

Okay, none of that happened. But I was excited. Very excited. Maybe I just live a sheltered life consisting of the Food Network and Marc Summers-related research projects, but I have never seen a chocolate-covered nut roll before. I'm not sure anyone else has either. There aren't any pictures of it online except for one tiny one on the Pearson's website (by the way, they're not hiring).

I'd like to think this review is going to be the definitive word on the subject.

But before I get to that, I'd like to say that I initially found it shocking that the bar contained 22% of my daily fat allowance. That seemed a little high until I saw that I also got 2% of my calcium (presumably from the cow teeth the white center is made out of) and decided it was a fair trade off. I will lower the amount of milk I put on tonight's Frosted Mini Wheats accordingly.

So how is the Pearson's Limited Edition Chocolate Nut Roll?

It's okay.


Exhibit 16.3

The new volume of The Cupboard is now available.

A New Map of America
by Louis Streitmatter
edited by James Brubaker

1 tape-bound volume designed by Beth Sullivan
$5/individual, $15/subscription

The Cupboard is pleased to present A New Map of America by Louis Streitmatter and edited by James Brubaker, a guide for a nation’s lost and grateful citizens.

"An intricate and poetic mystery—as pretentious as it is lovely."–Sir Jonathan R. Alpert, British Royal Cartographers' Association

More than thirty years in the making, renowned cartographer Louis Streitmatter's A New Map of America is at last here for a nation of lost and grateful citizens. In this book—containing the controversial map as well as the cartographer's notes on the many landmarks he's surveyed—Streitmatter unveils a new contour to this country's surfaces and boundaries. The result is a generous guide for any weary traveler. Read it. Use It. Keep it in your pockets.

Find out more here.

4 volumes of The Cupboard runs $15. That’s not so bad. Here.